- 1840: JUNE 2
- Thomas Hardy born, Higher
Bockhampton, Dorset, eldest child of Jemima
(Hand) and Thomas--a builder, who had been
married for less than six months. Younger
siblings: Mary, Henry, Kate, to whom he remained
close. His father and grandfather were
stonemasons and church musicians; his mother a
skilled cook and embroiderer; his paternal
grandmother an oral historian, his maternal
grandmother a singer of songs.
- Schooling: attended school
established by Julia Augusta Martin.
- Schooling: attended school in
Dorchester. Played fiddle at local weddings and
- Hardy witnessed the hanging of
Martha Browne, condemned to death for the murder
of her husband (possibly represented later in Tess).
Same year he was articled to Dorchester
architect, John Hicks and later became his
- Studied Latin and Greek from 5-8
am daily. Began writing verse. Read widely and
discussed modern thought with friend and mentor,
- Worked as draughtsman for Arthur
Blomfield, London architect. Studied paintings in
National Gallery; became an agnostic.
- Returned to Dorset as jobbing
architect for Hicks (later Crickmay); worked on
- Completed draft of first novel, The
Poor Man and the Lady which was rejected for
publication and partially destroyed.
- Sent by Crickmay to St Juliot in
Cornwall; met Emma Gifford. Writing Desperate
- Working on Under the Greenwood
Tree, partly derived from the early scenes
of The Poor Man and The Lady. A Pair of Blue
Eyes in early stages of composition.
Courting Emma Gifford.
- Horace Moule committed suicide. Far
From the Madding Crowd commissioned by
Leslie Stephen (ed., Cornhill). Courting
- Married Emma Gifford; took rooms
- Returned to Dorset -- Swanage;
writing The Hand of Ethelberta.
- Moved to Sturminster Newton;
writing The Return of the Native.
- Moved to Tooting, London; becoming
well known in literary circles; completed An
Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress;
(never included in his collected works);
composing TheTrumpet Major; serious
illness while writing A Laodicean which
he dictated to Emma. from his sick-bed.
- Moved to Wimborne Minster, Dorset.
Composing Two on a Tower.
- Moved to Dorchester; designed
& built Max Gate with his brother. Stayed
part-time in London. Composing
The Mayor of Casterbridge.
- Composing The Woodlanders and
more short stories.
- Working on short stories
- Writing many short stories.
Publication of Tess created furore.
Working on The Well-Beloved.
- Father died (1892). Matrimonial
relationship deteriorating. Writing short
stories. Visited Dublin; met Florence Henniker
for whom he developed a deep attachment; they
collaborate on a short story
- Publication of Jude
scandalizes the establishment. Decides to abandon
novel-writing. Relationship with Emma worsens,
partly exacerbated by Jude.
- Writing and revising poetry for
first collection, Wessex Poems. No
more novels. Now fully estranged from
Emma. They kept separate at Max Gate.
- Writing poetry. Started on The
Dynasts.(epic drama in verse, centrally
featuring Napoleon. Macmillan became his
- Mother died: Jemima Hardy:
"the single most important influence in his
- Met Florence Emily Dugdale, his
future wife, then aged 26 -- his friend and
- Writing poetry; declines a
- Awarded the Order of Merit.
- Revising for the Wessex Edition of
his novels (24 volumes). Emma died (1912).
- Pilgrimage to St Juliot and to
Emma's birthplace. Wrote poems "in
- Married Florence Dugdale (1914).
At outbreak of war joined group of writers
committed to write for Allied Cause. Writing
- Mary (sister) died (1915). Wrote,
revised and published more verse. His distant
cousin, Frank, killed at Gallipoli. Dramatized Tess
performed at Dorcheter (Hardy fell in love with
Gertrude Bugler, who played the lead role).
- 1928: Hardy died
on January 11. His ashes were buried at
Westminster Abbey and his heart in Emma's grave
at Stinsford church, Dorset. His brother Henry,