Birth And Boyhood
June 2, 1840. It was in a lonely and silent spot between woodland and heathland that Thomas Hardy was born, about eight o’clock on Tuesday morning the 2nd of June 1840, the place of his birth being the seven-roomed rambling house that stands easternmost of the few scattered dwellings called Higher Bockhampton, in the parish of Stinsford, Dorset. The domiciles were quaint, brass-knockered, and green-shuttered then, some with green garden-doors and white balls on the posts, and mainly occupied by lifeholders of substantial footing like the Hardys themselves. In the years of his infancy, or shortly preceding it, the personages tenanting these few houses included two retired military officers, one old navy lieutenant, a small farmer and tranter, a relieving officer and registrar, and an old militiaman, whose wife was the monthly nurse that assisted Thomas Hardy into the world. These being mostly elderly people, the place was at one time nicknamed ‘Veterans’ Valley’. It was also dubbed ‘Cherry Alley’, the lane or street leading through it being planted with an avenue of cherry-trees. But the lifeholds fell into hand, and the quaint residences with their trees, clipped hedges, orchards, white gatepost-balls, the naval officer’s masts and weather-cocks, have now perished every one, and have been replaced by labourers’ brick cottages and other new farm-buildings, a convenient pump occupying the site of the mossy well and bucket.
KeywordsEarly Life Sunday Morning Village School Tuesday Morning Parish Church
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