John Meade Falkner was born in 1858, the son of a Wiltshire curate whose family was linked with that of the diarist Francis Kilvert.
He spent most of his childhood in Dorchester and Weymouth; he went to Marlborough College, and on to Hertford College, Oxford. After graduating, he taught for a while and then became tutor to the children of Sir Andrew Noble, a partner in the armaments firm of Armstrong at Elswick, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Falkner eventually became a director of the firm, ending up as Chairman.
He produced three novels - The Lost Stradivarius (1895), Moonfleet (1898) and The Nebuly Coat (1903) - two biographical guides, on Oxfordshire and Berkshire, as well as a History of Oxfordshire, a short book on Bath and a number of poems published in The Spectator and elsewhere.
On his retirement in 1921 he became Honorary Reader in Palaeography at Durham University and Honorary Librarian to the Dean and Chapter Library. Increasingly ill by the end of the decade, he died in Durham on 22 July 1932 and his ashes were buried in the Cotswold town of Burford.