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Walk in the footsteps of Thomas Hardy

Hardy's Lulworth

Far from the Madding Crowd

“Troy presently swam between the two projecting spurs of rock which formed the pillars of Hercules to this miniature Mediterranean.”

Aside from being the location for the opening scene of this latest movie, Luworth Cove features as Lulwind Cove in the original novel. This 1874 novel saw one of  Bathsheba’s suitors, the favoured Sergeant Troy swim in the waters only to find them a little tame for his liking. “Troy came to a small basin of sea enclosed by the cliffs […] He undressed and plunged in. Inside the cove the water was uninteresting to a swimmer, being smooth as a pond, and to get a little of the ocean swell, Troy presently swam between the two projecting spurs of rock which formed the pillars of Hercules to this miniature Mediterranean.”

Bathsheba's House

Thomas Hardy took Waterston Manor as his inspiration for Weatherbury Farm, the home of Bathsheba Everdene in Far from the Madding Crowd. In Elizabethen times Waterston Manor’s owner was Thomas Howard, 3rd Lord Bindon, who inherited the Bindon Estates – which included Lulworth.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles 

Hardy visualised the sleep-walking Angel Clare carrying Tess, across the narrow bridge to the ruins to lay her within the empty stone coffin…

Locations in Lulworth play a significant part in this book. Whilst not actually on Estate lands, Wellbridge (Woolbridge ) Manor where Tess and Angel Clare spent their wedding night, is very close. Firmly within the Estate boundaries however are the nearby ruins of the medieval Bindon Abbey. This is clearly where Thomas Hardy visualised the sleep-walking Angel Clare carrying Tess, across the narrow bridge to the ruins to lay her within the empty stone coffin. Next to the Abbey ruins, and incorporating the remains of some Abbey buildings is Bindon Mill. As Wellbridge flour mills this is where Angel Clare turned to learn about milling. (Please note: Bindon Mill is not open to the public).

 

 

A Group of Noble Dames

It was a castellated mansion as regular as a chessboard…..’

In the 9th of these short stories, the Duchess of Hamptonshire’s, reference is made to Batton Castle. The description fits Lulworth Castlevery well. ‘His castle stood in the midst of a park, surrounded by dusky elms, except to the southward and when the moon shone out the gleaming stone façade, backed by heavy boughs was visible from the distant high road as a white spot on the surface of darkness…though called a castle the building was little fortified  and created with greater eye to internal convenience….  It was a castellated mansion as regular as a chessboard…..’

Lulworth Cove a Century Back

After the criticism he received over ‘Jude the Obscure’, Hardy gave up writing novels to concentrate on writing poetry. Hardy much admired the romantic poet John Keats, whose last sighting of England was from Lulworth Cove on board a ship bound for Italy. This event inspired Hardy’s poem ‘Lulworth Cove a Century Back’.

 

The Woodlanders

Land on the Lulworth Estate known as Bowling Green Wood was used for the filming of the 1970’s BBC version of the Woodlanders.

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