- The following letter from Hardy to
Bertram Windle has been transcribed by Birgit Plietzsch
- from CL, vol 2, pp 131-133
- [Please note: Hardy's own
italicisations are inconsistent and in some cases
idiosyncratic ("Turberville"), but they
have been retained here. Italicisations of book titles
omitted by Hardy have been added by MAPS Director. See
also our GENERAL CAUTION about e-texts]
Hôtel de la Poste,
| 28 Fossé Aux Loups | Brussels. | Sept. 28.1896
Owing to my absence from
England your letter has only now reached me.
I will with pleasure
give you any information that you require as to the real names of
places described in my Wessex novels. Such information in the
Handbook will perhaps relieve me of the many letters I receive on
the subject, & perhaps serve to correct the erroneous
identifications of places by journalists & others. I shall be
in England again ( Max Gate, Dorchester) some time in October,
& will then answer any questions.
- Yours faithfully
- Thomas Hardy.
On second thoughts I send a few
rudimentary notes, that you may not be put to unnecessary trouble
before my return. T.H.
- (For private reference
only = not to be printed in this form.)
- Dorset = "South
"Outer", or "Nether Wessex":
Devon = "Lower
Berks = "North
- "Casterbridge" scene of
"Mayor of C.", and of chapters in nearly
all novels. "Durnover moor" and
"fields" are the Fordington moor & fields
round D. Wolverton House, near Dorchester is the scene of
the traditional story of "The Lady Penelope" in
"a Group of Noble Dames".
- "Budmouth Regis" = scene
of "Trumpet Major" & portions of
other novels; "Overcombe" being the village of Sutton
Poyntz (near W.)
Bincombe Down (near W.) is
the scene of the military execution in "A Melancholy
Hussar" a true story, the names of the deserters
from the German Legion, shot in 1801, being still to be
read in the register of the parish. They were shot where
the roads cross.
- is "Weatherbury" = the
scene of "Far from the Madding Crowd",
"Greenhill Fair" being "Woodbury Hill
Fair", a noted annual gathering, a few miles off,
near Bere Regis.
- The "Longpuddle" of
"A Few Crusted Characters"
- The "Sandbourne" of
"Hand of Ethelberta," "Tess of
the D'Urbervilles," etc.
- The "Knollsea" of "H.
- Corfe Castle
- The "Corvsgate-Castle" of
ditto (new edn)
- are "Egdon Heath"
The heaths reaching, under the above, & other names,
from near Dorchester, to Bournemouth: (Scene of "Return
of the Native", etc.)
- "Port Bredy" in "Mayor
of C." & "Fellow Townsmen" (Wessex
- Weyhill, Hants
- The "Weydon Priors" of
"Mayor of C."
- Little Hintock" is a hamlet
near (in "The Woodlanders")
- The "Sherton-Abbas" of
"The Woodlanders", "Tess",
& other stories. "Lady Baxby" in "A
Group of Noble Dames" a traditional tale, mostly
fact, has Sherborne Castle for its scene.
- Melchester scene of "On
the Western Circuit" in "Life's Little
Ironies"; & of incidents in several other
novels: e.g. the marriage of Sue in "Jude the
- Scene of Tess's midnight rest when
flying from "Sandbourne" & of her
& the village of Ower
|| } Dorset.
- "Lulstead Cove" &
Nether Moynton" scenes of the smuggling story
in "Wessex Tales," founded on facts still
traditional in the neighbourhood.
- "Havenpool" scene
of "To please his Wife", in "Life's Little
- Melbury House,
- "Great Hintock Court"
scene of "The First Countess of Wessex",
in "A Group of Noble Dames."
- The "Shaston" of "Tess
of the D."
(V. of Blackmoor.)
- The "Marlott" of "Tess
of the D."
- "The Chase" scene
of Tess's seduction.
- River Frome.
(Valley of the)
- Scene of "Talbothays
dairy" in "Tess".
- Bere Regis
- The King's-Bere" of "Tess".
The monuments described in the novel being those of the Turberville
family, the place being their ancient seat as in "Tess
of the D." (vide Hutchin's Dorset.)
- Woolbridge old
- close to Wool station.
- Another seat of the Turberville's
and the scene of Tess's confession in "Tess of
- Bindon Abbey
- The spot to which Clare carried
spot of Tess's execution.
- The "Warborne" of "Two
on a Tower".
- The "Welland House" of
"T. on a T."
- Dunster Castle.
- The "Castle De Stancy" of
- The "Shaston" in which
Phillotson renounces Sue in "Jude the Obscure".
- The scene of "The Pursuit
of the Well-Beloved"
- The "Alfredston", of Jude
- The "Marygreen" of Jude