Topic: Lorna Street (TDN 21/02/2015)

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Lorna Street 

Lorna Street continues our close association with the Devon and Cornwall regions of the U. K. It refers to the lead character in Richard Doddridge Blackmore’s 1869 novel  Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor”

Lorna is originally assumed to be the granddaughter of Sir Ensor Doone and destined to marry the evil heir to the Doone Valley, Carver Doone. She accidently meets and falls in love with John Ridd, the son of a farmer who has been murdered by the infamous Doone clan.

So when Ensor dies and Carver becomes Lord of the Doones, John helps Lorna escape and hides her at their farm, Plover’s Barrows.  She wears a necklace that a family friend recognises as belonging to Lady Dugal who had been robbed and murdered by a band of outlaws. The only survivor of the attack was Lady Dugal’s daughter who is of course Lorna.

Lorna is therefore heiress to a large fortune but has to return to London to become a ward in Chancery, so marrying John is not an option.  After being accused of treason, John thwarts an attack on Lorna’s great uncle and guardian, Earl Brandir, and is granted a pardon, a title and returns to Exmoor a free man. When Bandir dies, a Judge Jeffreys becomes Lorna’s guardian and grants her the freedom to return to Exeter and marry John.

Meanwhiile the locals are fed up with the Doones and John leads an attack on them. John reclaims the necklace, but Carver escapes. The book ends with Carver bursting in on their wedding and shooting Lorna.  John chases after him in a rage and the ensuing fight leaves Carver sinking to his death in a mire. John returns to find Lorna is still alive. So all’s well that ends well.

The story is really about privilege and power struggles within the families of Devon. Maybe when the Devonshire descendants in New Plymouth named the street Lorna,  it served as a timely reminder of what they had left behind.

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Lorna Street (TDN 21/02/2015)


City:New Plymouth