Mary Norton was born in 1903 and spent much of her childhood in Leighton Buzzard, at first in “The Manor House” in Lake Street (now demolished) and later at “Cedars House” in Church Square. Mary herself described this as a large Georgian house with “strange buildings in the garden… an orangerie and a temple with palladian pillars”. Many will recognise this as a description of the grounds of the present Leighton Middle School, others as the setting for Firbank Hall in her book “The Borrowers” “The Borrowers” was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1952 and was followed by “The Borrowers Afield” (1955) , “The Borrowers Afloat”(1959), “The Borrowers Aloft” (1961) and lastly “The Borrowers Avenged”(1982). “The Borrowers Omnibus” was published in 1990. “The Borrowers” was made into a movie starring John Goodman in 1995.
After her first marriage was dissolved Mary went to live in an Essex farmhouse with her second husband, Lionel Boncey and in 1972 they moved to County Cork. Here she completed her other full length story, “Are all the Giants Dead?”.
Mary’s second husband died in 1989. Mary Norton herself died in 1992 in Hartland, Devonshire and she is survived by her four children. The artwork for the book was done by Beth and Joe Krush whose pen and ink work is superb.