Sunday, March 7, 2021

Max Gate in Dorset, England


Today is the day we said goodbye to our lovely home away from home and ventured into Dorset.  It's hard to believe we've spent the last two weeks venturing around Cornwall and Devon.  The two weeks previous, was spent in the Lake District.  Our Golden Celebration is coming to a close, but on our travels to Southampton, we can't pass up an opportunity to visit Max Gate, the home of Thomas Hardy, the English novelist and poet and his first wife, Emma.  


 Upon parking our car we see these Guinea hens (I think) searching for food among the hedges. If you know them to be another fowl please let me know.


Max Gate was the final home of Thomas Hardy.  He lived in Max Gate from 1885 to 1928 when he passed away.  He designed and built this home in Dorchester, Dorset, England. 


The property was given to the National Trust in 1940 by Hardy's sister.  The home was named for a nearby tollgate keeper, Henry Mack.




Thomas Hardy was a trained as an architect at King's College, London.  He won prizes from The Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architectural Association.  Living in London did not suit him because he was well aware of social class divisions.  He became very interested in social reform and the works of John Stuart Mill.

Moving to Max Gate, Hardy concentrated on his writing.  It was here that he wrote his most famous novels and poems. 

Inside, Max Gate is recreated by the National Trust to be as similar to Hardy's home as possible using period furnishings from his era. 






Originally the home had two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs.  In 1895 the home was expanded and then even more additions added later. 


 The poem above was written by Hardy for his wife.  When he built Max Gate he planted a thousand pine trees for privacy and a windbreak.  The trees made the house dark and gloomy and his second wife, Florence, had them removed after his death.




A fine collection of old volumes of Thomas Hardy fill this bookcase.


It was nice seeing this old typewriter.  No easy way of editing with this old machine.  


The bedroom upstairs served Hardy as a study as well.


"Thomas Hardy wrote some of his finest poetry sitting at his desk in front of this window."



The view from the window is lovely this morning.




Hardy wished that upon his death to be buried at Stinsford in the same grave of his first wife, Emma.  His executor, Sir Cockerell, insisted he be interred in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey.   His heart is buried with his wife and his ashes are buried in Poet's Corner. 

We enjoyed learning more about Thomas Hardy and his home at Max Gate.  Upon leaving we continued our journey to Salisbury.  I hope to share what we discovered there.





 

28 comments:

  1. I think I could write if I lived there! Looks lovely! The south of England and the Lake District, I hope your trip was as amazing as it sounds!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The English countryside is indeed inspirational, Lynn. Our trip was amazing on so many levels! If you want to visit all the places we did, they reside in the tab above labeled Great Britain. Thank you for stopping by.

      Delete
  2. Another wonderful post, my friend. I am always in awe of the gentry who were lucky to live in such beautiful manor homes and castles. I always wonder if they were happy or too spoiled to appreciate what they had. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Teresa for visiting with us today. I'm sure like folks today, some of us appreciate what we have and some of us don't.

      Delete
  3. It looks like a pleasant home. He must have loved it there. I should think a thousand pine trees might well make it much too dark. So what you are sharing is not quite what he would have experienced in his final years there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vee, I do believe Thomas Hardy had a rather dark side to him, so the darkness that surrounded him and his writing suited him.

      Delete
  4. Max Gate looks quite austere to my eye. I am not a fan of Hardy, I think possibly due to being forced to study his work for my "O" Level examinations, which I believe tends to cloud one's judgement, unless, of course, you fall head over heels for the writer, as I did with Wordsworth! Those do look like Guineafowl to me, and had you been lucky enough to find some feathers you would have found a treat indeed.
    Deb in Wales xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Going through Dorset is really Hardy country, Deb. Though his writings are raw and dark, we found his home to be the opposite, especially without the thousand pine trees! Studying his work in great detail would be a little depressing. I believe the National Trust did their best to recreate his home. Have a great week, my friend. xoxo

      Delete
  5. Oh Martha how lucky and blessed you are! I ave always dreamed of going to England one day since I was a teenager but with me now being as old as I am I doubt it will ever happen. THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing your travels there!! Looks like you had a FABULOUS time. I can't wait to hear more!!
    Belle in Florida xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Belinda, it's so nice to see you here! Thank you for coming along with us. If you want to read more about the weeks behind us they reside in the tab labeled Great Britain. I will be sharing a few more places as we made our way to Southampton and then home on the QM2. Have a great week! xoxo

      Delete
  6. What a lovely, charming home! I feel like I could be quite at home there!

    Oh, does this mean that you're nearing the end of your Golden Anniversary trip posts? We have surely enjoyed taking this trip with you! I hope you're enjoying the re-living of it as you write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheryl, we are coming to the end of our Golden Anniversary trip. It has been wonderful reliving it all over again. Thank you for coming along with us on our adventure.

      Delete
  7. It's a pleasure to travel back to England through your blog posts as you remember and post about your time there.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Another beautiful post Martha it is a place that I have never visited so nice to get a view inside the house and learn a little more about a great poet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed at peek inside Max Gate, Lorraine. Great Britain never ceases to amaze us!

      Delete
  9. Lovely both to read and look at your post.

    I did not know that "Hardy wished that upon his death to be buried at Stinsford in the same grave of his first wife, Emma. His executor, Sir Cockerell, insisted he be interred in Poet's Corner at Westminster Abbey. His heart is buried with his wife and his ashes are buried in Poet's Corner."

    Hoping you are keeping well, have a happy month of March.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was an interesting fact about Thomas Hardy and his burial, wasn't it, Jan? I'm glad you stopped by for a visit. I wish you a happy month of March as well!

      Delete
  10. I could move in here. The other places may be more grand but this is so charming and so very real, so warm and comfortable. I learned a lot about Hardy here I didn't know. Although I'd read several of his books long ago, I knew nothing about the man. Just seeing his home, I know I like him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We learn so much when we travel, right, Jeanie? I do miss it so! Hopefully the light is at the end of the tunnel concerning the pandemic. I have to believe it! Take care.

      Delete
  11. I enjoyed reading this post about Thomas Hardy and his well preserved home. Martha Ellen. It looks as if he is expected back at any moment! Those antique books were beautiful --works of art on their own. He was fortunate to be recognized as a great poet during his lifetime. His burial was rather romantic.
    Spring must be on the way in your area. It is far away here as we expect more snow this upcoming weekend, although we are having warm weather today in the high 60's. Have a good week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Max Gate was a lovely surprise to us, Pat. The National Trust does a wonderful job setting the stage for these properties.
      Spring is teasing us big time today as the screen is open to our patio during this 70 degree afternoon. So glad you are having a warm day as well. I think we all wish for Spring even more this year. I hope your week is good also!

      Delete
  12. Interesting history regarding Hardy and more lovely photos. I don't know Dorset very well so it was very interesting to see it through your photos. It all looked very beautiful! Transported me back to my home country. Thank you Martha Ellen, always :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise, though we didn't spend much time in Dorset, we would love to go for a longer visit. I'm so happy to take you back home, my friend! xo

      Delete
  13. This is a nicely built home, Martha Ellen. I like that tea set, it's lovely. And that old typewriter made me smile. Can you imagine writing a letter on something like that? The green walls in the study are pretty, and the color is calming. I like the white windows too. Wow, a thousand pine trees were planted on the grounds! That's a sweet picture of the three birds.

    It's wonderful that you have recorded your Golden Anniversary trip, Martha Ellen. It will be a joy to read in years to come.

    ~Sheri

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading, Sheri. I'm so behind in writing. I do hope to finish up this trip soon. So many wonderful memories to record.

      Delete
  14. Martha, I never knew that Hardy was an architect. No wonder it's such a beautiful house. Your photos are wonderful. It's easy for me to put myself in the picture. I'm somewhere between wives Emma and Florence--I agree with the first about privacy and with the second about not wanting it dark and gloomy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you, Jean, I can't imagine a thousand trees around this property but privacy is important. We learn so much when we travel. I didn't realize he was an architect either. Maybe one day we'll be able to travel again.

      Delete

Your comments will show after moderation. Thank you. ♥