Literary Lives: Mr Hardy and Mrs Henniker – An Enduring Friendship in Letters by Helen Angear

Thomas Hardy LettersCome and join us on Thursday 27 July 2017 at 7.30pm, for an interesting talk by Helen Angear who has been working on the Thomas Hardy Correspondence Archive at Dorset County Museum. 

“It occurred to me the other day that this year completes the eighteenth of our friendship. That is rather good as between man and woman, which is usually so brittle” (Aug. 1911).  So wrote Hardy to Florence Henniker, an aristocratic lady and fellow writer he met in 1893. Hardy’s comment might make you think of the 1989 film ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and the unresolved question of whether men and women can ever be ‘just friends’.

In fact, Hardy and Henniker’s platonic friendship lasted almost thirty years and both sides of their correspondence exist within the archive to tell the story. Henniker’s gift of an inkstand, sent in the post in 1893, can also be seen in Hardy’s study upstairs in the Museum. This talk examines the important role that letters played in their enduring friendship. I seek to dispel the assumption that this is simply a story of unrequited love and reveal how their dialogue provides an understanding of intimate, but non-marital, social bonds between the sexes at the turn of the century.

A selection of the letters will also be on display.

Helen Angear

Helen Angear

Helen Angear is an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award student at the University of Exeter, in collaboration with Dorset County Museum.  She is working on the Hardy correspondence archive, and her PhD is called Thomas Hardy’s Correspondents: Proximity and Distance in Postal Communication’. Helen is also an Associate Lecturer at Exeter College.

The forthcoming lecture will take place on Thursday 27 July 2017 in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm and talks start at 7.30pm.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Literary Lives – Hardy and the Poetry of Encounter by Phillip Mallett

Philip Mallett - Image- Mark North_DCM © 2017

Philip Mallett

Come and join us for an interesting talk by Phillip Mallett on Thomas Hardy’s poetry from 100 years ago.

In his Notebook, Hardy wrote that ‘Reality is one sure fact, and the mind of the artist another’. Poetry is made out of the encounter between the two. This lecture explores a range of such poetic encounters, from his collection Moments of Vision, published 100 years ago.

Phillip Mallett is Honorary Senior Lecturer in English at the University of St Andrews, and Honorary Researcher at Lancaster University.  He is a Vice-President of both the Hardy Society and the Thomas Hardy Association, and since 2008 editor of the Hardy Society’s journals. In addition to essays on writers from John Donne to Larkin and Heaney, his published work includes a biography of Rudyard Kipling, and editions of The Return of the Native and The Mayor of Casterbridge for Norton, of The Woodlanders for Wordsworth Classics, and of Under the Greenwood Tree for Oxford World’s Classics. He has also edited a number of collections of essays, most recently The Victorian Novel and Masculinity for Palgrave.  He is currently working on new editions of Tess for Norton, and of the Mayor for the forthcoming Cambridge edition of Hardy’s novels and stories.

The forthcoming lecture will take place on Thursday 25 May 2017 in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm and talks start at 7.30pm.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

 

The Dorset Ooser

This monstrous wooden mask, a bull’s hair and horns mounted on its low brow, was used to scare people at midwinter gatherings. Another was reported at Shillingstone and there may have been many more throughout Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire.  The Rev. William Barnes defines Ooser, oose or wu’se, as ‘a mask…with grim jaws, put on with a cow’s skin to frighten folk. “Wurse” … is a name of the arch-fiend.’

The replica Dorset Ooser mask that hangs in the Writer’s Gallery of the Dorset County Museum was carved by John Byfleet in 1975 for the Wessex Morris Men and is often used in May Day celebrations at Cerne Abbas and in dance performances.  DCM © 2015

The replica Dorset Ooser mask that hangs in the Writer’s Gallery of the Dorset County Museum was carved by John Byfleet in 1975 for the Wessex Morris Men and is still used in May Day celebrations at Cerne Abbas and in dance performances. DCM © 2015

From the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’ Volume 84, 1962, an article written by the H. S. L. Dewar. entitled ‘The Dorset Ooser

This extraordinary object, portrayed in the illustration, has, most unfortunately disappeared from human ken. Some 65 years ago it was in the possession iof the Cave family at Holt Farm, Melbury Osmond. When Dr. Edward Cave left Holt for Crewkerne in Somerset before the year 1897, he took the Ooser with him. Leaving Crewkerne for Bath in 1897, for the time being the mask was left in ‘the care of the family coachman. When Dr. Cave enquired for it subsequently, it appears that he was told it had been disposed of. It is suggested that it may have eventually found its way to America.

Dorset Ooser, Melbury Osmond. This horned mask was formeriy in me possession of Mr. Gave of Holt Farm, but has long since disappeared. DCM © 2015

Dorset Ooser, Melbury Osmond. This horned mask was formeriy in me possession of Mr. Cave of Holt Farm, but has long since disappeared. DCM © 2015

The hollow mask, for such it was, is said to have been in the care of the Cave family from time out of mind. But although it has now been lost to sight, the memory of it and its associations in the district still provide great interest to students of folklore and others. That the mask was the last of a long line of renewals can hardly be doubted, since it was made of wood as a base, and must have suffered periodically from woodworm and decay.

As can be seen in the illustration, the mark was provided with a lower jaw which was moveable, and gnashing teeth, the jaw being worked by a string. It was adorned with crisped hair, flowing whiskers, a beard, and a fine pair of horns. Between the eyebrows it bears a rounded boss for which it is difficult to find an explanation. The expression of the eyes conveys a really agonized spirit of hatred, terror and despair. That the head in its turn was intended to inspire terror in the minds of the foolish and the wicked is unquestionable. It is perhaps the latest representation of ithe Devil to be made and used in England. The Devil, be it said, whom the Church of England has recently decided to retain in the Catechism, no doubt with good reason. The Ooser was, nevertheless, an unorthodox representation of the King of Evil.

The tradition that inspired both the creation of the Devil at large and the manufacture of his varied images is, of course, nearly as old as man himself. We find his prototypes, probably connected with phallic or fertiility worship, in the Mesolithic period. At Starr Carr in Yorkshire some 9000 years ago, the primitive hunters of the Middle Stone Age were making skull-caps for ‘wear out of the skulls and antlers of deer. Archaeologists believe they were intended to be worn for ritual use in dances connected with their hopes for ‘successful hunting. The fertility of both the hunters and the hunted was something that had to be achieved for the perpetuation of the tribe and for its sustenance.

The rituals that inspired this kind of performance were already thousands of years old. We have only to turn to the painting of a man disguised in the skin and horned head of an animal in the cave of Les Trois Freres in France to see what is perhaps the earliest representation of a priest of this fertility cult, his face turned to the spectators for admiration. Antlers have been recorded as found near the heads of individuals buried in Bowl-barrows of the Early Bronze Age in Dorset.

Today, in the famous, annual horn-dance at Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire, the modern equivalents may be seen, though politely modified, perhaps descended from remote antiquity through various -media. Incidentally, the Abbots Bromley horns are said to be hung up in the Church between the ceremonies.

It is not difficult to trace the evolution of a god of an early cult, or a fertility spirit with attendant ritual., to the Devil of a succeeding religion. The new priests still needed to keep some of the images of the older faith, and to trot them out periodically for the edification of the people, or as a warning. The transition from god of pleasure or plenty to god of pain, often in a subordinate and derogatory position as a devil, was assured. For example, the crude fertility symbolism of the Giant of Gerne Abbas was preserved, probably through May Day revels, by the local inhabitants, with the presumed, though perhaps tacit assent of the Church, and of the Abbey of Cerne.

Thus it may well be, as the inhabitants of Melbury Osmond believe, the Ooser, originally an image connected with fertility worship, was eventually relegated to occasions for “Skimity Riding” (Information from Mr. K. G. Knight.), (sometimes rendered as “Skimmerton”) as in Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, and “Rough Music”. This performance may be explained by pointing out that before the days of the Divorce Courts and the popular press, public opinion had a good way of expressing interest in and disapproval of husband-beating, scolding, sexual unfaithfulness or irregularity, and cuckoldry. Many of these are, after all, often due to the uncontrolled excess of the urge to fertility. And so, when an aberrant pair, or an erring spouse was located, the man, or sometimes the woman, or both, were made to ride on a donkey or a horse, face to tail. Meanwhile the crowd made rude and rough music by beating on frying pans and ketitles, bull’s horns, marrow bones and cleavers. Such was the band with which they had earlier woken and serenaded the sinful. Elsewhere, the donkey was called a “celebrated Jerusalem,” a curiously inverted form of sarcasm. At Melbury it is related that the Ooser was brought out and paraded to complete such a show. Skimmity Riding is portrayed on a panel in one of the rooms in Montacute House in Somerset.

By now the once triumphant horn of plenty, fertility and power had become a symbol of scorn, horror and derision. The latest phase of all seems to have been when the Ooser’s head — or was the head itself the Ooser — on occasion used to be brought to the door of the tallet (hay-loft) of a barn to terrify the children of the village(Information from Mr. K. G. Knight.) should occasion call for it. The word “tallet” is of some interest here, since it seems to be akin to the Welsh : “taflod”, a hay-loft, and its use as a dialect word in Dorset could indicate a Celtic origin.

The tale is still told in (Melbury that it was sometimes used to scare grown up people as well as young ones, chains being attached, while lucifer matches were pushed alight into the head. One is tempted to visualize smoke pouring from the infernal nostrils. The story goes that once it was so used to frighten a stable-hand (Information from Mr. K. G. Knight.), and that in a fright he jumped through a window and so injured himself that his ‘life was despaired of. At one time it is said that the Ooser was kept in the Malt House, which was once a Button Factory, and now a Chapel. If one looks for a parallel elsewhere, Violet A If or d in her book on English Folk-Dances, records that a man used to accompany the ‘Christmas Wassailers at Kingscote in Gloucestershire, “dressed in a sack, his head in a real bull’s face, head and horns complete”.

The name Ooser may be connected with “Wurse,” as William Barnes remarked, the name of the arch-fiend-himself in Layamond’s Brut. Others believe it connected with “Osor,” a name used in Italy in the 17th century for the Devil of the ‘Christians. It seems possible that the Ooser may claim relationship with such figures as the Mayday Jack-in-the-Green, or the Green Man of our Inn signs. He is likely enough an off-shoot from the 14th century and later Mummers’ plays. Some authorities hold that the older form of Mumming was “(Masking”, while Polydore Vergil relates that the disguising and mumming at Christmas were derived from the feasts of Pallas that were done with vizars and painted -masks. Again, it is known that in early ‘Christian times people ran about wearing masks upon New Year’s Day on the occasion of the Feast of Circumcision, imitating a pagan superstition. In ancient missals the words written in the mass for this day were : “Missa ad prohibendum ab idalis” A clue can very likely be seen also in Isaiah xxxiv. 14.

These masques or mysteries may have evolved eventually into the Morality Plays. In France, men and women (wearing such disguises are said to have been forbidden going to the Churches in 1598 at the instigation of the Bishop of Angres, and by State Legislation in 1668. A suggestion has also been made that “Ooser” is a derivative of “Guisard” or “Guiser”, connected with such words as “vizard,” “vizor,” or “vizard,” the old words for “Mummer” or “Guise.”

Mr. G. W. ‘Greening of Dorchester can recall the figure of a Beelzebub which puffed smoke, had four short legs and a tail like a crocodile, in a play performed by the Bradstock Mummers when he was a boy. It is a great pity that such figures as the Ooser should have faded into the mists of time. It is only due to the great interest taken in folklore by a few enthusiasts, and by Mrs. H. H. (Marshall, a daughter of Dr. Edward Cave, and by Mr. K. G. Knigiht of Evershot, and the very retentive memories of the older men and women of Melbury Osmond that many of the above details have been preserved.

Those who wish to pursue the subject may be referred to F. T. Elworthy’s Horns of Honour, and to Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries, Vol. ii (1891), p.289, or to any of a vast number of books concerning the Devil and his Works that are to be found in most public libraries. Skimmity Riding is discussed in Brand’s Popular Antiquities, and elsewhere.
It may be permissible to ask philologists whether there is any evidence that the ‘well-known Hampshire dialect word “Wooster”, meaning a lover, and “Wooster blister,” a mark allegedly caused by a lover’s kiss, is related to the Ooser?

  • The writer’s thanks are most cordially given to Mr. R. N. R. Peers, to Mr. G. W. Greening, and to Mr. K. G. Knight of the Melbury Estate Staff, for their interest in local traditions about the Ooser, and for the trouble they have taken in the matter. Last but not least, also to Mrs. H. H. Marshall, who has come forward with some new facts after this paper had been almost completed. It should be noted that “Ooser” is pronounced with a short, quick “s”, as in “boss,” not as in “nose.”

Thomas Hardy Lecture: Life is a Game of Chess by Rebecca Welshman

Thomas Hardy in his Study Dorset County Museum © 2013

Thomas Hardy in his Study Dorset County Museum © 2013

The last in the current series of Thomas Hardy talks at Dorset County Museum will investigate Hardy’s use of the origins and strategies of classic games in his fiction writing.

Rebecca Welshman of the University of Exeter has studied how Thomas Hardy’s familiarity with the ancient origins and principles of games informed some of the key scenes in his novels. In The Mayor of Casterbridge, for example, Hardy describes Casterbridge as a ‘chessboard’, and Maumbury Rings – the former site of Gladiatorial games – as an ‘arena’ in which the games of human relationships are played out.

The talk also explores how Hardy strategically employs games such as chess, cards and dice to direct the fates of his characters and how chance and strategy are principles of his fiction writing.

Rebecca’s talk entitled, Life is a Game of Chess: Hardy, Games and Prehistoric Landscapes, will take place on Thursday 30th October in the Museum’s Victorian Hall. The event is FREE but donations are encouraged to cover costs. The talk starts at 7.30pm and the doors are open from 7.00pm. All are welcome to attend.

For more information please Tel: 01305 262735 or visit our website at www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.

Book Launch: Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels by JB Bullen

Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels by JB Bullen

Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels by JB Bullen

Hardy Book Launch at Dorset County Museum 6th June 2013 at 6.00pm

Thomas Hardy’s Wessex is one of the great literary evocations of place, populated with colourful and dramatic characters.  As lovers of his novels and poetry know, this ‘partly real, partly dream-country’ was firmly rooted in the Dorset into which he had been born.

JB Bullen explores the relationship between reality and the dream, identifying the places and the settings for Hardy’s writing, and showing how and why he shaped them to serve the needs of his characters and plots. The locations may be natural or man-made, but they are rarely fantastic or imaginary. A few have been destroyed and some moved from their original site, but all of them actually existed, and we can still trace most of them on the ground today.

Thomas Hardy: The World of His Novels opens new and original perspectives for both those who already know his brilliant stories, and those who come to them for the first time.
JB Bullen holds the Chair of English Literature and Culture in the department of English Literature, Royal Holloway, University of London. He is also Professor Emeritus of the University of Reading where he lectured on English Literature and Art History for over twenty-five years. In 2010 he delivered the plenary lecture at the last international Hardy biennale. He is the author of many books and articles and lives in Oxford.

The book included chapters on Far from the Madding Crown, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Hardy’s poems.

Entry to the book launch is free.  It is followed at 7.30pm by an illustrated talk by Helen Gibson and Marilyn Leah entitled ‘Emma: West of Wessex Girl’ on the life of the first Mrs Thomas Hardy.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

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Thomas Hardy – A Dorset Novelist and Poet

Thomas Hardy - Dorset County Museum © 2013

Thomas Hardy – Dorset County Museum © 2013

Thomas Hardy was born on 2nd June, 1840, at Higher Bockhampton, a hamlet in the parish of Stinsford, some two and half miles east of Dorchester. The author’s grandfather, Thomas Hardy (the first), settled in Bockhampton in 1801, in a house which his father had built for him. By trade he was a master mason but his chief interest was music. On his arrival at his new home he set himself to organize the little band of musicians who not only provided the sacred music for the services in Stinsford Church but also performed when music was required at secular festivities in the neighbourhood – christenings, weddings and other social parties. In this he was assisted by his son Thomas (the second) who, after his father’s death in 1837, continued both to manage the family business and to direct the musical activities of the village.

Thomas Hardy (the second) married Jemima Hand and Thomas (the third and the subject of these notes) was the eldest child of a family of four. His mother was a woman of strong character and vigorous mind, but he seems more to have resembled his father in his quiet unassuming nature. From his father, too, he inherited his love of music and his abiding affection for the Dorset countryside.

As a small child he was very forward for his age and not over strong, but his health improved and at the age of eight he was sent to the village school. A year later, in 1849, he was sent as a day-boy to a private school in Dorchester where he was well grounded in Latin among other subjects. After school hours and in the holidays he often joined his father when playing at weddings and parties in the neighbourhood of his home. In 1856, when he was 16, Hardy was placed as a pupil with Mr. Hicks, an architect whose offices were at 39 South Street, Dorchester, and for the following six years the great interest of his life – ‘the three strands’, as he called them – were architecture, the study of the classics and his love of the countryside.

In 1862, at the age of 22, he went to London to extend his experience in architecture. He worked under Mr. (afterwards Sir) Arthur Blomfield in the Adelphi for six years, during which time poetry was his main interest. His first published prose article ‘How I built myself a House’ appeared in Chambers’ Journal in 1865, but his poems were invariable refused by the publishers to whom he sent them, although in later years he collected many of them in his volume of ‘Wessex Poems’.

Ill-health obliged Hardy to return to Dorchester in 1867 when he again joined Hicks. By this time he was bent on writing and his submission of the manuscript of a novel to Messrs. Chapman and Hall, the publishers led to his meeting with George Meredith who gave the young author advice on the technique of novel writing. The first novel of Hardy appeared later in a shortened and much modified form as a magazine story under the title of “An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress”.

On the death of Hicks, Hardy continued for a while with Mr. Crickmay, the successor to the practice. In the course of his professional duties Hardy was sent in March, 1870, to make surveys for the restoration of the church of St. Juliot, near Boscastle, in Cornwall. He was entertained at the rectory where he met the rector’s sister-in-law, Miss Emma Lavina Gifford, who was a few years later to become his first wife.

The restoration of St. Juliot’s was to be Hardy’s last architectural work of any importance. He returned to London where he devoted himself to writing, being able, however, to make occasional visits to Cornwall.

Hardy’s first published novel, ‘Desperate Remedies’, which appeared in 1871, was not a success. In spite of its discouraging reception he was persuaded to publish ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ in 1872, and this was well reviewed and received. Then followed ‘A Pair of Blue Eyes’ as a serial story in Tinsley’s Magazine. In 1874 came Tar from the Madding Crowd’ as a serial story in the Cornhill Magazine. Its merits were at once recognised and it achieved great success.

In September, 1874, Hardy and Miss Gifford were married at St. Peter’s Church, Paddington, London. For a while they moved from place to place and they spent the summer and autumn of 1875 at Swanage where Hardy completed The Hand of Ethelberta’. The following year, after a short trip abroad in Holland and on the Rhine, they found what they had been seeking for some time — a country cottage. This was on the banks of the River Stour in the little Dorset market town of Sturminster Newton. Here they lived for two years —’our happiest time’ as Hardy later described it.

But Hardy decided that the practical side of his vocation as a novelist demanded that he should live in London. So, early in 1878, they moved to a house at Upper Tooting close to Wandsworth Common. For three years they lived here making many new friendships and finding time for a holiday trip to Normandy and occasional visits to Dorset.

With the publication of The Return of the Native’ in 1878 Hardy’s genius was fully recognised and for nearly twenty years he continued to write novels and short stories.  In October, 1880, at the time when The Trumpet Major’ was published, Hardy was over taken by a severe illness which confined him to his bed for six months, during which time, however, he finished ‘The Laodicean’. Deciding to give up living permanently in London, the Hardys returned to Dorset in 1881 and took a house at Wimborne Minster. Two on a Tower’ was published the following year.

Thomas Hardy in his Study Dorset County Museum © 2013

Thomas Hardy in his Study Dorset County Museum © 2013

In 1883 they moved once again, this time to Dorchester, which was to be their home for the rest of their lives. Not finding a house to suit them Hardy purchased a plot of land a mile from the centre of the town, on the Wareham road, where he built Max Gate, named after the turnpike gate which formerly stood there. It was not, however, until June, 1885 that the house was finished and they were able to occupy it. While Max Gate was their permanent home, they frequently visited London and kept in touch with their many friends making also occasional trips abroad.

Thomas Hardy's study, as it was when he lived and worked at Max Gate. In the study is the largest collection in the world of Hardy's manuscripts, books from his library and some personal possesions.

Recontruction in the Dorset County Museum of Thomas Hardy’s study, as it was when he lived and worked at Max Gate. In the study is the largest collection in the world of Hardy’s manuscripts, books from his library and some personal possesions. Dorset County Museum © 2013

Hardy’s next novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge’, was published in 1886. Most of the scenes are laid in Dorchester and the manuscript of the book was presented to the Dorset County Museum by the author in 1911. The Woodlanders’ followed in 1887 and in 1891 ‘A Group of Noble Dames’. In the same year Hardy’s most famous novel ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ appeared. It came out first as a serial story in The Graphic’, in a garbled form to suit the conventional tastes of magazine readers and, later in the year, when it was published in book form it was received with a storm of hostile criticism as well as with praise. His last novel Jude the Obscure’ was published in 1895 and aroused almost as much controversy as Tess had done a few years before.

Hardy’s career as a writer of prose fiction was now at an end and he was able to devote himself to poetry, which he had in fact been writing at intervals from very early days. He published two collections of his earlier works – Wessex Poems’ in 1898 and Poems of the Past and Present’ in 1901, and then he set himself to the great work which he had had in mind for many years past. This was The Dynasts’, an epic of the tremendous historical events of the Napoleonic era. It was published in three successive parts which appeared in 1903, 1906 and 1908. It is Hardy’s greatest achievement and the fullest and most complete expression of his genius. In 1909 he published Time’s Laughing-stocks , a collection of poems, some of early years and some of recent composition.

In 1910 the Order of Merit was conferred upon him and in the same year he received an honour that especially pleased him, the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Dorchester. His genius was also recognised by honorary doctorates from the Universities of Aberdeen, Cambridge and Oxford.

Hardy’s first wife died in 1912 and in 1914 he married Miss Florence Emily Dugdale who after his death wrote his life in two volumes —The Early Life of Thomas Hardy and The Later Years of Thomas Hardy’.

From time to time Hardy continued to publish volumes of verse. Satires of Circumstance’ appeared in 1914; ‘Moments of Vision’ in 1917, ‘Late Lyrics and Earlier m 1922 and ‘Human Shows’ and ‘Far Fantasies’ in 1925. His last volume of verse Winter Words was not published until 1928, after his death. In 1923 was published The Famous Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall’, a version of the old mummers’ play.

As the years drew on Hardy’s days were spent more and more in retirement. He seldom left the peace of Max Gate, although he retained a keen interest in events both in the outer world and particularly in Dorchester. He attended from time to time the performances of dramatised passages from his works given by the Hardy Players, a company of talented and enthusiastic amateurs in Dorchester. His eightieth birthday, on 2nd June, 1920 brought many messages of congratulation from all over the country and a deputation from the Society of Authors brought a birthday gift.

Thomas Hardy's Grave, St. Michael's Churchyard, Stinsford - Dorset County Museum © 2013

Thomas Hardy’s Grave, St. Michael’s Churchyard, Stinsford – Dorset County Museum © 2013

In July 1923 H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward VIII, who was visiting Dorchester, lunched informally with the Hardys at Max Gate. Hardy’s last public appearance was in July, 1927, when he laid the foundation stone of the new buildings of the Dorchester Grammar School of which he had been for many years a Governor.

Hardy died at Max Gate on 11th January, 1928.  His ashes were laid to rest in Westminster Abbey , but his heart was buried in the little churchyard at Stinsford, close to the graves of his father and mother and other relatives.

Hardy is commemorated by a stone memorial at Higher Bockhampton – his birthplace – raised by some of his American admirers and by the statue by Eric Kennington in Colliton Walk, Dorchester.

Many rare and intriguing objects from the world’s finest Thomas Hardy collection are on show in the Dorset County Museum’s Writers’ Gallery

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