Tales of Talbothays Dairy
In the approach to the 172nd anniversary of Thomas Hardys birth, Jackson-Stops & Staff is offering a chance to buy a slice of Hardys literary legacy. Lower Lewell Farm House near Dorchester is reputed to be the inspiration for Talbothays Dairy in Tess of the dUrbervilles.

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 Englands most celebrated authors. Tess of the dUrbervilles was first published in 1891. The story is set, like all of Hardys 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.

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 Hardys 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 Hardys 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 Hardys 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.