Date and Place of Birth:
2nd June 1840. Upper Bockhampton, Dorset, England.
Thomas Hardy was the son of a builder and master
mason, Thomas Hardy and Jemima Hand. Eldest of four children.
Village school at Bockhampton, under the patronage
of Julia Augusta Martin, Lady of the Manor and one of the founders
of the new school. Nonconformist School at Dorchester, Dorset, where
he is taught by Isaac Last.
Chronology/Biography of Thomas Hardy:
1849: Visits London
for the first time with his mother en route to visit an aunt in
1853: Thomas Hardy
move's with Isaac Last to his newly created independent academy
to the Architect John Hicks in Dorchester. Continues his studies
at home and begins to learn Greek. His first published work is accepted
by the Dorset County Chronicle newspaper.
1857: Death of Mary
his grandmother who has lived with the family since his birth.
1858: Hardy begins
1860: Finishes his
apprenticeship at Hick's office and is kept on as a paid employee.
1862: Thomas Hardy
moves to London and takes up employment with the architect Arthur
Blomfield and lives in Kilburn.
1863: Becomes engaged
to Eliza Nicholls. Wins prizes from the Royal Institute of British
architects and the Architectural Association. Becomes interested
in art and is a frequent visitor to the National Gallery.
1865: Arthur Blomfield
gives the task of exhuming bodies from old St Pancras churchyard
to Hardy in order to preparing the way for the new Midland railway.
Hardy writes some of his earliest surviving poems.
Old St Pancras Church. Built in the Eleventh Century and
restored heavily thereafter.
(© Anthony Blagg)
The so called Hardy tree in Old St Pancras Churchyard.
This Ash tree was planted at the time with all
the old gravestones arranged around it's trunk.
The railway which now carries the Eurostar can be seen in the background.
(© Anthony Blagg)
with Eliza Nicholls finishes.
1867: Thomas Hardy
leaves London and resumes working for Hicks in Dorchester. Begins
his first novel "The Poor Man and the Lady".
The publishers Chapman and Hall reject his novel. (April) Moves
to the practice of G. R. Crickmay in Weymouth and settles in lodgings.
"The Poor Man" is rejected by two other publishers but
he starts on "Desperate Remedies".
Moves back to his parents home but continues to work for Crickmay.
(March) Goes to St. Juliot in Cornwall on architectural business
and falls in love with Emma Lavinina Gifford. (April) Moves back
to Weymouth. "Desperate Remedies is rejected by the publishers
Macmillan but Tinsley Brother's agree to publish it at Hardy's own
expense. (May) Gives up his job with Crickmay and leaves for London.
(August) Spends a three week holiday in Cornwall and spends much
of the time with Emma.
of "Desperate Remedies". Resumes working for Crickmay
in Weymouth. "Under the Greenwood Tree" is completed by
early in the summer, but is rejected by Macmillan.
1872: Hardy moves
to London and works for T. Roger Smith on architectural plans for
schools. Sells the copyright of "Under the Greenwood Tree"
to Tinsley's and it is published with a slight success. Emma's father
refuses his request to marry her. (September) Serialisation of "A
Pair of Blue Eyes" begins. (November) is invited by Leslie
Stephen (the father of Virginia Woolf) to
contribute to the Cornhill Magazine".
1873: "A Pair
of Blue Eyes" is published as a single volume.
of "Far from the Madding Crowd" begins. (September) Emma
and Hardy now married spend their honeymoon in France. They finally
settle in a house in Paddington, London. (November) "Far from
the Madding Crowd" is published as a single volume and is his
first major success.
1875: The couple
move to Swanage in Dorset where he works on "The Hand of Ethelberta"
which is serialised in July.
1876: (March) Moves
to Yeovil in Somerset. (May) Visits Holland and Germany. (July)
Moves to Riverside Villa in Sturminster Newton in Dorset.
Return of the Native " is rejected by two publishers including
1878: Thomas Hardy
moves to London, settling in Wandsworth. Begins researching in the
British Museum for "The Trumpet Major". (November) "The
Return of the Native " is finally published in single volume
Becomes seriously ill and has to dictate "A Laodicean"
to his wife.
1881: (April) is
allowed to leave the house for the first time since his illness.
(June) They settle in Wimbourne in Dorset.
1882: They take
a holiday in Paris.
1883: Moves to Dorchester
where they begin to build Max Gate.
1884: Hardy works
on the "Mayor of Casterbridge"
1885: The couple
move into the completed Max Gate.
1887: They holiday
1889: At work on
"Tess of the D'Urbervilless" which is rejected by a number
of magazines for serialisation including Macmillan's Magazine.
1891: Elected as
a member of the Athenaeum Club in London. (September) Visits Scotland.
(December) "Tess" finally appears in single volume form.
1892: Death of his
1893: (May) Visits
Dublin. (August) Begins "Jude the Obscure".
1895: The first
volume of his collected works appears.
1896: Takes an extended
in holiday in England and on the continent and visits the site of
the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium.
1897: Thomas Hardy
Poems" appears being a collection of most of his poetry to
Past and Present" is published which includes some of his poetry
in response to the Boer War.
become Hardy's publishers.
1904: Death of his
mother. Researches "The Dynasts" in the library of the
1905: Receives an
honorary degree from the University of Aberdeen. (September) Visits
Aldeburgh in Suffolk to attend the 150 year celebrations of the
birth of George Crabbe. First meeting with
1909: Growing friendship
with Florence Dugdale.
1910: (July) Is
awarded the Order of Merit by King George the Fifth. (November)
Receives the Freedom of the Borough of Dorchester.
1911: Emma Hardy
completes "Some Recollections".
1912: Wessex Editions
of his work appear. (May) Visits his friend Edward Clodd in Aldebrugh
and sees Florence Dugdale. (June) Receives the Gold Medal from the
Royal Society of Literature. (7th November) Death of Emma Hardy.
1913: (March) Hardy
visits Cornwall to revisit places linked with Emma. Florence Dugdale
moves into Max Gate. (June) Receives an Honorary Degree from Cambridge
University. (July) Becomes an Honorary Fellow of Magdalene College,
1915: Death of his
of the "Selected Poems of Thomas Hardy".
1917: Begins work
on his autobiography which is to be published after his death in
his wife's name. Publication of "Moments of Vision".
of "Collected Poems".
1920: (April) Last
visit to London. Many congratulations are received on his 80th birthday,
including those from King George the Fifth.
1922: Receives an
Honorary Degree from the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland.
Receives an Honorary Fellowship from Queen's College, Oxford.
1923: (20th July)
The Prince of Wales, visits Hardy at Max Gate.
of "Human Shows".
1927: (11th December)
Onset of Thomas Hardy's final illness.
1928: (11th January)
Dictates his final verses to Florence.
(by date of publication)
- 1872: "Under
the Greenwood Tree".
- 1873: "A
Pair of Blue Eyes".
- 1874: "Far
From the Madding Crowd".
"The Hand of Ethelberta".
"The Return of the Native".
- 1880: "The
- 1881: "A
"Two on a Tower".
"The Mayor of Casterbridge".
"A Group of Noble Dames". "Tess of the D'Urbervilles".
"Life's Little Ironies".
"Jude the Obscure".
"The Well Beloved".
"Poems of the Past and Present".
"The Dynasts, Part 2".
"The Dynasts, Part 3".
"Satires of Circumstance".
"Late Lyrics and Earlier".
- 1925: "Human
1. 17th September 1874 to Emma Lavinia Gifford
at St. Peter's Church, Paddington. The couple had first met at St.
Juliot's Church, Cornwall where he had gone to draw up a plan for
its restoration. (died 1912).
2. 10th February 1914 to Florence Emily Dugdale, at St. Andrew's
Church Enfield in Middlesex.
Date and Place of Death:
12th January 1928. Max Gate, Dorchester, Dorset
England, of a heart attack. The Pallbearers
at his funeral were J.M.Barrie, G.B.Shaw,
John Galsworthy, Rudyard
Kipling, A.E. Housman, Stanley Baldwin and Ramsey MacDonald.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
Ashes: Poetís Corner, Westminster Abbey,
London, England. Heart: St. Michaelís Church, Stinsford, Dorset,
Places of Interest:
Birthplace Cottage, Upper Bockhampton.
Max Gate, Alington Avenue, Dorchester.
Lulworth Cove, (Scene of Sergeant Troy's Drowning).
Dorset County Museum, Dorchester has a recreation
of his study.
Corfe Castle appears in "Desperate Remedies".
Portland Museum appears in "The Well Beloved".
British Museum Library.
Dunster Castle, appears in the "Laodicean".
Gaulden House, Lydeard St. Laurence, is the seat
of the Turberville Family.
Thomas Hardy Society
PO Box 1438
Thomas Hardy by Britain Unlimited
We cover 250 Great British people and what made them