ST4701 : Thomas Hardy Locations: Tess of the D'Urbervilles

taken 8 years ago, near to Beaminster, Dorset, Great Britain

Thomas Hardy Locations: Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Thomas Hardy Locations: Tess of the D'Urbervilles
This is the Vicarage of Beaminster in Dorset which was the basis for the Vicarage of Emminster in Thomas Hardy's book Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

In the novel, Tess is raped by her cousin Alec Durberville. She marries her sweetheart Angel Clare but when he finds out that she is no longer a maiden, he abandons her and she becomes penniless. She decides to walk west across the Dorset downs to beg help from her father-in-law Mr. Clare, the vicar of Emminster who lived in the fictional version of this house.
She started her walk in the fictional village of Flintcombe Ash (based on the real village of Plush) which Hardy described as a "starve-acre place", where the poverty stricken Tess scraped a living grubbing turnips from the muddy fields nearby. And she walks the 17 mile to Emminster.

As it is so far to walk she can only do it on a Sunday and just as she arrives in Emminster she changes out of her rough walking boots and hides them in a hedge and puts on nice shoes to arrive at the vicarage. But she finds that everyone is at church and so she waits for her father in law to return. While waiting two young men, who turn out to be Angel Clare's brothers approach her from behind unaware of who she is. Tess overhears them talking about Angel and herself in derogatory terms. They also find her hidden boots and when the men meet Mercy Chant, Angel's former sweetheart, Mercy decides to give the boots to "some poor person".

Tess is totally disillusioned and doesn't go to the vicarage but carries on walking back along the road she came by. She reaches a village nearby and stops for lunch and learns a travelling preacher is in the barn she is passing. She hears the preachers voice and recognises it as Alec Durberville, who is testifying to having been converted by Mr. Clare.
She once again is on the road to falling under the spell of her evil cousin and subsequent ruin.

The actual vicarage was built in Broadwindsor Rd in 1859-61 to a design by William White. Pevsner describes it as Tough High Victorian Gothic "a rarity in Dorset". Part of the front of the building is occupied by an incongruous modern hair salon. This is the view from the rear lawn.

Thank you to the owner for giving me permission to take this photo.
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ST4701, 195 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 30 June, 2010   (more nearby)
Saturday, 3 July, 2010
Vicarage (former)   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! ST 476 013 [100m precision]
WGS84: 50:48.5754N 2:44.7043W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! ST 476 013
View Direction
WEST (about 270 degrees)
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