A Trip to Moffat

by Kristi

Last summer I was in Moffat, and gathered the address of the woman who lives in D.E. Stevenson's former home, and is also interested in her and her work, and the wife of a solicitor who might be a relative of D.E. Stevenson. At least, the librarian in the Moffat Public Library thought so. (The library is just behind the police station, and the tourist information house is on the right just as one enters the town from the south has the address, and they will show one how to find D.E. Stevenson's home).

There is a description of Ryddleton in Mrs. Tim Gets a Job which makes me think that though it is a composite of many places, it surely has a lot of Moffat in it. Read about page 3 of the chapter 4th March. Ryddleton is 'bright and spacious' feeling with one very wide street and several narrow ones. The wide street is divided by trees planted up the middle and a war memorial. I may not have any good pictures of this, but it conforms to my memories of the main street of Moffat. Another thing which inclines me to identify the two towns is that I was just reading Anna and Her Daughters and came across the section where Jane and her mother take a bus to St. Mary's Loch. The description is just as it was when my husband Paul and I were there. Beautiful and no one else was there. Jane and her mother Anna took a bus there. I don't have my map of Scotland, but I know the road from Moffat to St. Mary's Loch is along a narrow valley. One could also approach it from the north, but I prefer to think it is based (loosely though it may be) on DES's home.

High Street, Moffat

Photo courtesy ShopScotland


Photo courtesy of Jim Henry

Dumfriesshire countryside around the town of Moffat.

D.E. Stevenson said this about Moffat:

I am now settled in Moffat, a small town in beautiful Annandale in the county of Dumfries. It is a peaceful spot and a marvelous place for writing. I enjoy a good walk over the hills with my spaniel, and then come home to find tea waiting, spread on a table before a bright log fire.

From an Article in the Moffat Newspaper on the 1992 centenary of DES's birth:

On 18th November this year it is the centenary of the birth of D.E. Stevenson, or Mrs. Dorothy Peploe as she was know in Moffat where she lived in North Park for thirty years as the wife of Major James Peploe and mother of their children Robin, Patsy (who died as a child), Rosemary and John.

When she died in 1973, she had written over 40 books. More than 4 million copies had been sold in Britain alone and 3 million in the United States. Her novels were translated into 6 European languages, transcribed into Braille and read in talking Books for the Blind. They were at the top of the best-selling lists in Britain as well as South Africa and Australia.

To this day, she has a large following, especially in the States, where her work has been republished in omnibus editions and Boston University holds many of her manuscripts. Her success there began in the early days of the war with The English Air . She was proud to hear from a reader that the novel had helped those across the Atlantic to know what it was like to have a 'tiger in the backyard'.

Yet this popular novelist led a Victorian childhhood with nannies and governesses, never going to school at all. Her great grandfather was Robert Stevenson, the famous lighthouse builder and Robert Louis Stevenson was a first cousin of her father's. She felt that writing was in her blood and she wrote stories from the age of eight - she later claimed her books were her 'lighthouses'.

This exhibition sets out to recapture the atmosphere of her Victorian childhood, marking various milestones in her life. Most of all, it celebrates her books, which continue to give pleasure to so many people."

Visit a Moffat Website with pictures and helpful information .

Take A Walking Tour of Moffat From the Black Bull Inn in Moffat.

DES's Home In Moffat