Yew sets ancient tone of burial ground

Yews in churchyards may point to pre-Christian beliefs in the sacred. Photograph: Matthew L. Tagney

Yews in churchyards may point to pre-Christian beliefs in the sacred. Photograph: Matthew L. Tagney

It might be thought that when Thomas Hardy stepped aside from his narrative in Jude The Obscure to describe Shaston, or Shaftesbury, “on the summit of a steep and imposing scarp, rising … out of the deep alluvial vale of Blackmoor” as “one of the queerest and quaintest spots in England”, he was being unduly fanciful.

But if, today, you turn aside from St John’s Hill, close to that summit, in to a small enclosed space beside the road and take in the sight of the ancient yew before you, its limbs spreading out wide and close to the ground above scattered headstones, then look ahead towards the sheer drop into the expanse of the vale, you do catch a sense of the local magic and feel you are indeed in a special place.

 

Via The Guardian: http://gu.com/p/4fe4d/stw

BBC News – Lower Bockhampton Kingston Maurward housing development plans dropped

BBC News - Lower Bockhampton Kingston Maurward housing development plans dropped

Plans for a housing development near the old home of Dorset author Thomas Hardy have been dropped.

Kingston Maurward College wanted to build 70 houses on parkland at Lower Bockhampton, near Dorchester.

It said “several important issues” were raised during the consultation and it was withdrawing the plans.

The Open Spaces Society, which had campaigned against the development, said Hardy would have “breathed a sigh of relief”.

The author was born at Higher Bockhampton in 1840, and wrote Far from the Madding Crowd there.

BBC News – Lower Bockhampton Kingston Maurward housing development plans dropped.

BBC News – National Trust buys Thomas Hardy Dorset heathland

National Trust buys Thomas Hardy Dorset heathland

 

More than 200 acres (80 hectares) of heathland, thought to have inspired some of the settings for writer Thomas Hardy’s novels, has been bought by the National Trust.

The organisation said Slepe Heath in Dorset was the real-life version of the fictional Egdon Heath, where Hardy’s novel The Return of the Native is set.

BBC News - National Trust buys Thomas Hardy Dorset heathland

BBC News – National Trust buys Thomas Hardy Dorset heathland.

Sneak peek: ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’

Brian Truitt, USA TODAY 5:30 a.m. EDT October 31, 2013

Carey Mulligan takes on the role of headstrong Bathsheba Everdene, a woman with three suitors.

“Hardy has a fantastic ability to put his characters in situations that mean life and death, so it’s a sweeping romance and a great drama at the same time.”

In the story, Bathsheba is courted by a trio of very different suitors: the well-to-do older bachelor William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), who makes her acquaintance after she inherits her uncle’s farm; the heedless young soldier Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), who uses his swordplay to impress the girls; and Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), the shepherd who keeps finding his way into Bathsheba’s life and is attracted to her attitude and passionate nature.

(via Sneak peek: ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’)

Thomas Hardy crowds’ madding fury over plans to build 400ft wind turbines on countryside which inspired famous novelist | Mail Online

Mail Online

The rolling countryside of Dorset beloved by poet and novelist Thomas Hardy will be ‘devastated’ if plans to build a dozen wind turbines there go ahead, angry residents have claimed.

The Thomas Hardy Society has condemned proposals to erect two wind farms close to locations the author wrote into his best-known works, saying they will blight the beautiful countryside that attracts crowds of tourists each year.

The proposed sites for the 400ft turbines are between the villages of Tolpuddle and Puddletown, close to where both The Return Of The Native and Far From The Madding Crowd were set, and at Charminster, not far from the tiny village of Stinsford where Hardy was born and where his heart is buried.

Read more.