Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Thomas Hardy's cottage . . .

Here is the path through Thorncombe Woods, bejewelled with bluebells, which leads you to Thomas Hardy's cottage.

You could FLOAT on that perfume . . .

First glimpse of the cottage - which I have walked past many a time, but never been inside before.

Self-explanatory . . .

His birthplace and family home. He was born here in 1840 and initially set aside as dead, but then it was noticed that there were signs of life and he was fed instead of buried! He had another narrow squeak when he was found in his crib with a large adder curled up on his chest . . .

The furniture has been added in recent years and is of the period, but sadly nothing of the Hardy family's actual furniture remained.

Here is the ancient floor
Footworn and hollowed and thin,
Here was the former door
Where the dead feet walked in.

She sat here in her chair,

Smiling into the fire,
He who played stood there,
Bowing it higher and higher.

Childlike, I danced in a dream;
Blessings emblazoned that day;
Everything glowed with a gleam;
Yet we were looking away!

Thomas Hardy: The Self-Unseeing.

My husband would have loved these chairs.

I loved this bedroom. Imagine waking up here . . . I felt I could have moved straight in - no need for modern paraphanalia - and just go back in time.

I loved the detail in this old (Victorian?) appliqued quilt.


It faces west, and round the back and sides
High Beeches, bending, hang a veil of boughs,
And sweep against the roof. Wild honeysucks
Climb on the walls, and seem to sprout a wish
(If we may fancy wish oftrees and plants)
To overtop the apple-trees hard by.

Red roses, lilacs, variegated box
Are there in plenty, and such hardy flowers
As flourish best untrained. Adjoining these
Are herbs and esculents; and farther still
A field; then cottages with trees, and last
The distant hills and sky.

Behind, the scene is wilder. Heath and furze
Are everything that seems to grow and thrive
Upon the uneven ground. A stunted thorn
Stands here and there, indeed; and from a pit
An oak uprises, springing from a seed
Dropped by some bird a hundred years ago.

In days bygone -
Long gone - my father's mother, who is now
Blest with the blest, would take me out to walk.
At such a time I once inquired of her
How looked the spot when first she settled here.
The answer I remember. "Fifty years
Have passed since then, my child, and change has marked
The face of all things. Yonder garden-plots
And orchards were uncultivated slopes
O'ergrown with bramble bushes, furze and thorn;
That road a narrow path shut in by ferns,
Which, almost trees, obscured the passer-by.
Our house stood quite alone, and those tall firs
And beeches were not planted. Snakes and efts
Swarmed in the summer days, and nightly bats
Would fly about our bedrooms. Heathcroppers
Lived on the hills, and were our only friends;
So wild it was when first we settled here.

Thomas Hardy.

Looking out into the garden, and below; the kitchen with a rather useful modern woodburner!

I spent some time in the beautiful misty blue of the orchard. There was a beehive at one side - can you imagine how WONDERFUL Bluebell Honey would taste?

Tomorrow, Stinsford church.


  1. Hardy's cottage is wonderful isn't it? I really enjoyed my visit a couple of years ago.

  2. This is so beautiful! I would love to have a cottage just like this, including the flowers. I'm not very familliar with Hardy's works, but think I should be so. Including his words, made the whole thing "come alive". Thanks for once again sharing your world with all of us..

  3. This is all so lovely and so British :-D
    I would love to eat bluebell honey.

  4. Another 'must visit' place to add to my list, how lovely it all looks, many thanks for the virtual tour, your photos are beautiful :-)

  5. I do envy you your day in the bluebells at Higher Bockhampton! I love the atmosphere inside Hardy`s cottage. There is something of the old family feeling still there. It would have been a wonderful place for country children to grow up.

  6. Fascinating. I have read all of Hardy's books but not many of his poems. The bluebells are so beautiful.

  7. I'm glad you have all enjoyed the visit. I took lots ore photos but some were better than others.

    DW - it still felt like I should come upon an younger Hardy in the next room . . .

  8. Loved the cottage, like you I could imagine just moving in and forgoing all modern conveniences.

  9. Well, Google's messing around has lost me all my comments - but I know you were here. At least I've got the post back! I didn't fancy making it all over again.

  10. I've loved having a catchup morning here. Our walk looked so lovely in your pictures and your words were so poetic :D What a special day :D

    As it turns out I must be quite superstitious and have now added a few more to my list, thank you :D

    The garden looks wonderful and very inviting. I still have my fingers crossed for you.x

  11. I know I commented - think I said that I'd loved Hardy's Cottage when I visited in 2009. The warden is the only NT person I know who allows interior photos. I really took to him:)