His own life was reflected in his dramatic output, with A Voyage Round My Father a portrayal of his blind father, who was also a barrister.
The drama appeared on radio, television and the London stage.
Melvyn Bragg, a friend and neighbour of Sir John, said the writer had a "wonderful life, beginning and ending" in a cottage in the Buckinghamshire village of Turville Heath, previously owned by his father.
"Life was encircled around that place in Turville and he was the monarch of that," Lord Bragg said.
Melvyn Bragg: "He will be badly, badly missed"
"We went to pay court to him and, to be honest, you went just to laugh and to hear the latest gossip and the latest book he'd read and 'what do you think of this and what do you think of that?'
"There was a whiff of erudition and scandal always around John and it was completely seductive and he'll be badly, badly missed."
BBC radio drama head Alison Hindell said: "It's a great loss for the huge circle of his admirers, fans and friends who will always carry Rumpole, and the other wonderful works he wrote, in their hearts."
Tony Lacey, Sir John's editor at publishing house Viking said: "It's hard to think he'd gone.
"At least we're lucky enough to have Rumpole to remind us just how remarkable he was."
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