Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By The Cynical Tendency
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Far From The Madding TV

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Watching programmes from the “Discovering” series on Sky Arts TV, the content on the subjects has run to about 45 minutes in the hour scheduled. So on Julie Christie, the actress, it gave only snatches of her long and varied career. But the clip from the film “Far From The Madding Crowd”, a very 1960′s production raised questions.

The first was how near or far from the book by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)  was it. Another question is when Hardy wrote it in 1874 how far from the reality of rural England in the counties was it? Today we have access to many sources on the web, so whereas at one time serious research was needed, now we can try our luck on the web.

To keep it simple to begin with I found Hardy as a ten year old scholar on the 1851 Census Return so on the grounds that his childhood memories later would be vivid ones what could be learned in relation to the book? He was at a small hamlet, Higher Bockampton in the Parish of Stinsford close to Chichester. It was rural, part of a small parish, but close to Chichester, County Town of Dorset.

The incumbent of the Parish, from 1837 to 1891 was the Rev. Shirley, from a nearby minor landed family who were a branch of the main Warwickshire family of Shirley of Ettington, about five miles from Stratford upon Avon on the Banbury road. As in Shakespeare who must have been there a time or two. Even into the 1960′s there were Hathaway’s just along the road.

In Hardy’s works are there sometime shadows of Shakespeare within the stories and characterisations? The Rev. Shirley was one of the new men of his time, high church and restoring the past, despite the preferences for Low Church or dissenting in the local area. With Shirley came the choir and back to the 16th Century.

Quote from:

There was scarcely an aspect of the young Thomas Hardys life which this change did not affect. Hardy was the first pupil to enter the new Stinsford and Bockhampton National School which Shirley had set up in collaboration with the occupant of the nearby Kingston Maurward house, Julia Augusta Martin. He also instituted a Sunday school, at which in due course Hardy became an instructor, along with the vicar’s sons Sewallis and Robert.


In the book “Far From The Madding Crowd” the return of Sergeant Troy to his home village is a major part of the plot, he was a dragoon, cavalry. When Hardy was seven years old, the 31st Regiment of Foot arrived at Stinsford from India, a major event, and stayed from some time. So the Army was an integral part of village life. Then in the mid 1850′s the Crimean War saw Dorset become a central part of both military and naval activity.

One interesting item on the Census return was the surname of the Hardy neighbours, Keats. I have tried to race both the earlier families of this Keats and the poet Keats, who died in 1819, one of a London family. I have not found a connection, but in the 1850′s people might well have assumed that there was. But having a Keats next door might have created an interest by Hardy.

In communications and history the railways did not reach the Chichester area until the 1860′s and after, so Hardy will have been in an area still dependent on the old roads and the implications for local life and contacts. In economic and farming terms it had become a backwater well away from the London markets or any major area of growing industrial or commercial population.

For many of his readers Hardy will have been writing about a world that had been lost and could never be recovered. For in the 1870′s and later Gladstone of the Liberals who wished to end the landed classes of the Shires, Disraeli of the Tories anxious for the UK to be the centre of a mighty empire, both saw the decline and loss of rural England to be a necessary condition.

As the new steamships came from distant places filled with foods and other goods and as men moved to the towns or into the Army and the women to service and factories, what was left became a memory. Or the source for a good story teller who could recall what was left of it.

But we shall never really know or understand it however good the presentation in fiction or in our researches.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation.

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)

Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen!

Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.

Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%! (See Video).

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.