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April 27, 2012

Tales of Talbothays Dairy

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 2:46 pm

In the approach to the 172nd anniversary of Thomas Hardy’s birth, Jackson-Stops & Staff is offering a chance to buy a slice of Hardy’s literary legacy. Lower Lewell Farm House near Dorchester is reputed to be the inspiration for Talbothays Dairy in Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Thomas Hardy was born in a cottage near Dorchester and received only a modest education but by the time of his death in 1928, Hardy had become one of England’s most celebrated authors.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles was first published in 1891. The story is set, like all of Hardy’s novels, in southwest England in an area he describes as ‘Wessex’ after a medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom. Hardy himself was born and lived in ‘Wessex’, just outside Dorchester and about two miles from Lower Lewell Farm House, otherwise known as Talbothays Dairy.

Talbothays Dairy is an important setting within the novel. Tess flees to the farm where she meets and falls in love with Angel Clare.

Postcard depicting Lower Lewell Farm House as Talbothays Dairy

Marion Tomblin, the owner of Lower Lewell Farm House first discovered this literary connection whilst visiting Dorchester museum with her son, “There was an exhibition of artwork illustrating Hardy’s Wessex and as I was browsing through the paintings, I spotted the front of our house in one of the works.” After further enquiries the Tomblins discovered that their house was widely believed to be the setting of Talbothays Dairy and, understandably, decided to buy a collection of the original artwork from the local artist.

The farmhouse has many of its original 17th and 18th century features that would have been present at the time of Hardy’s writing, such as inglenook fireplaces, exposed beams and shuttered sash windows. The seven bedroom house has mature gardens including an orchard and storage buildings.

The novel has seen many reincarnations on both screen and stage; perhaps the most successful was the BBC adaptation in 2008 written by David Nicholls starring Eddy Redmayne and Gemma Arterton. It is often said that Hardy’s imaginary settings within his novels are inseparable from the places that inspired them. This is evident in Lower Lewell Farm House; Hardy not only created a character by the name Lewell in the novel but also built Talbothays Lodge for his sister on the same road in order to give the fictional place name a physical reality.

Lower Lewell Farm House is on the market with Jackson-Stops & Staff, Dorchester (01305 262123) for £650,000

April 13, 2012

Spring forward for Jackson-Stops & Staff

Filed under: Latest News — Four Communications @ 2:05 pm

Jackson-Stops & Staff, the national upmarket estate agents, reports Spring sunshine in the significant increase in exchanges in its latest figures – up by 32 per cent on last year.

According to chairman Andrew Froude, green shoots are also showing in the pipeline of properties under offer. The figures are up by eight per cent, year on year, across Jackson-Stops & Staff’s 41 offices nationwide.

The gross realisation for the month was up by an impressive 39 per cent.

3 Archery Lane, Winchester

Andrew Froude, chairman of Jackson-Stops & Staff, said: “Our figures reflect that not only is the Spring weather unseasonably early, this is the most positive market we have seen for several years. This mood of cautious optimism has been prevalent since the second half of last year. Cathedral cities such as Chichester and Winchester, the Cotswolds, East Anglia and the South-west have enjoyed a strong start to the year. New instructions and the total number of instructions have levelled off but it is too early to say whether we are moving towards an excess of demand over supply.”

Jackson-Stops & Staff director Dawn Carritt said that the most popular such cities for homebuyers were York, Rochester and Winchester. “Prices may vary enormously from one cathedral city to another, but what attracts buyers to these areas does not,” she said. “The appeal is that there is still a good sense of community in these cities, as well as a wide variety of shopping, culture, history and period buildings — so many people are drawn to that. Not every county town can claim to have that same pull.”

Ms Carritt is selling a three-bedroom stone house in Rochester, which is famed for having the second-oldest cathedral in England — founded in 604 by Bishop Justus — after Canterbury. The house dates back to the medieval period and is on the market for £650,000.

“There has been a lot of interest in the historic side of Rochester and its period buildings,” she said, “and you will find the same is true in Winchester and York, where there are some lovely period buildings.”

She added that many cathedral cities had excellent schools near by, while elderly buyers were attracted to the convenience of having retail and leisure services consolidated in often vibrant high streets. “These cities with a cathedral hub basically work on all three levels — they attract families, the mature worker and the elderly.”

Kingfisher Cottage, Bibury

Kingfisher Cottage, Bibury

Demonstrating the strength of the Spring market, the Cirencester office of Jackson-Stops & Staff sold an idyllic stone cottage in one of the most photographed corners of the Cotswolds to a buyer who viewed it online and snapped it up immediately.

Jamie Dalrymple-Hamilton, director of the Cirencester office of Jackson-Stops & Staff, said: “Kingfisher Cottage is in Arlington Row, Bibury, photographed by thousands of tourists every year as a quintessential Cotswolds scene. The house has starred on the covers of magazines, on calendars and in countless books. The buyer is based in Bulgaria, viewed it online and made an offer straight away. It was the most extraordinary sale I have handled.”