Obituary writer Donna-Louise Bishop has trawled the shelves of the Eastern Daily Press achieves this week and is remembering Doreen Wallace. 

In this limited series looking back at some of Norfolk's most noted and notable, we focus on the renowned creative and author who would go on to become an avid campaigner. 

Born Dora Eileen Agnew Wallace in Low Lorton, Cumberland in 1897, she was the only child of R. B. Agnew Wallace and his wife Mary Elizabeth, née Peebles.   

Eastern Daily Press: Doreen Wallace

After teaching for a while at Diss Grammar School, Norfolk, she was married in 1922 to Rowland H. Rash, a long-established farmer and landowner in Wortham, Suffolk. 

The great-grandmother, who wrote under the name of Doreen Wallace, died of bronchopneumonia on October 22, 1989, aged 92. Her death notice appeared in the EDP on October 24. 

A report on her funeral was reported on in the EDP on November 20, 1989, which was conducted by the Rev Christopher Idle.  

Eastern Daily Press: Costessey Library on Breckland Road during its opening on May 21, 1963 with Doreen Wallace (left)

Tithe tax battle heroine dies (published on October 26, 1989) 

Leading campaigner, author and artist Doreen Rash has died at the age of 92 at her Diss home. 

Mrs Rash, who wrote more than 50 books under the pen name of Doreen Wallace and was well-known as a painter, gained national recognition in a 40-year campaign to abolish what she described as “the iniquitous tithe tax”. 

A former landowner and farmer at Wortham, near Diss, she became president of the National Tithe Payers’ Association before the Second World War. In 1934 she and her husband barricaded their farm during a six-week siege after her refusal to pay the Church of England tithe. 

Eventually, 134 pigs and 15 cattle, worth £702, were seized in lieu of the tax and a memorial recording the event was erected. 

In the summer of 1939, Mrs Rash decided to see if the Church really would make a person bankrupt so she refused to pay again. This time her furniture and bedding were brought out of her home and auctioned. 

Eastern Daily Press: The cover of Doreen Wallace's The Tithe War

But the auctioneer was a close friend and the furniture was bought by other members of the association. 

The payment, traditionally one-tenth of a landowner’s profits, had to be paid to the Church and was later collected by the Inland Revenue. It was abolished in 1967. 

Boadicea of rural causes (published on October 26, 1989) 

Doreen Wallace remained a trenchant East Anglian non-conformist of the secular kind almost up to the end of her life, which has just ended at her Diss home in her 93rd year. 

Older readers of the EDP in particular will recall the variety and frequency of her published opinions, most regularly in “The Country Scene,” or in the correspondence columns of which she did not hesitate to make telling use. 

Eastern Daily Press: Doreen Wallace

To a wider public of course she was an established novelist, and the most colourful protagonist in that sepia-tinged rural battle of the 1930s known as the Tithe War. 

Her novels, with their realism and portrayal within a single person of an entire class, amounted to a social and economic history of Norfolk rural life throughout a generation. 

Yet, paradoxically, the involvement of Doreen Rash — the married name by which she was known among her neighbours — in the campaign to end the iniquitous tithe system, cast her in a romantic role, a latter day Boadicea. 

Eastern Daily Press: Rural campaigner Doreen Wallace is held aloft triumphantly by supporters in her battle to abolish

An opponent of ’isms, Doreen Wallace was nonetheless a forceful exponent of often uncompromising views. Shooting for fun was “utterly shameful”, art critics “superior asses”, bingo a social curse — a cultural form no doubt, but then “so are horror comics and cannibalism.” 

Here was no ordinary Lady of the Manor, and a distinctive era of local life fades with her passing.