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H W Freeman


After the war, Freeman had two
novels and a travel book published.
He and Betty remained at Offton,
enthusiastically growing vegetables
and fruit and continuing their annual
travels in Europe. They died within
three months of each other in 1994.

The son of a schoolmaster, Harold Webber 'Jack' Freeman was born in Ilford, Essex in 1899. He won a scholarship from the City of London school to Christ Church College, Oxford where he read classics, narrowly missing a double first class degree. His studies were interrupted by service with the Somerset Light Infantry in France at the close of the First World War


Following Oxford and a period of teaching, Freeman settled into a life of European travel and writing. In 1928, the novel he wrote in a Florence garret, Joseph and his Brethren, was published by Chatto & Windus. This story of a Suffolk farming family became a main selection of the American Book of the Month club, establishing Freeman's reputation.

Freeman had five more novels published during the 1930s, followed by Chaffinch's in 1941. This was just after he was married to Elisabeth 'Betty' Bödecker, a German costume designer for the theatre who had worked in Berlin, Paris and London. They settled at the village of Offton, seven miles west of Ipswich in Suffolk where Freeman's parents had bought a sixteenth-century house and a couple of acres of ground

Books
Joseph and his Brethren, Chatto & Windus, 1928, 2003
Down in the Valley,Chatto & Windus, 1930, 2005
Fathers of their People, Chatto & Windus, 1932
Pond Hall’s Progress, Chatto & Windus, 1933
Hester & her Family, Chatto & Windus, 1935
Andrew to the Lions, Chatto & Windus, 1938
Chaffinch’s, Chatto & Windus, 1941, 2001
Blenheim Orange, Victor Gollancz, 1949
The Poor Scholar’s Tale, Chapman & Hall, 1955
Round the Island, Chapman & Hall, 1956

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