Richard Doddridge was
the son of John Blackmore, the curate-in-charge of Longworth in Berkshire.
Sadly, his mother died during an outbreak of typhus only a few months after
his birth. Richard was brought up by his aunt, Mary Frances Knight, and her
husband, Rev. Richard Gordon, at Elsfield in Oxfordshire; while his father
returned to Devon, his childhood home. Richard only joined him in Culmstock,
when he remarried in 1831. In 1864, Blackmore
published his first novel, Clara Vaughan, which was immediately
recognized for its excellent qualities. Cradock Nowell followed in
1866, but it was not until 1869 that he really came to public attention with
his LornaDoone, produced in both triple and single volumes.
This classic work, apparently based on West Country tradition, was a
pioneer in the romantic revival of English fiction, having singular
charm, vigour and imagination which have endured throughout the years.