Thomas Hardy, one of Dorset’s most famous residents lived for many years at his cottage in nearby Higher Bockhampton, and in Dorchester the County Town.
Thomas Hardy visited Athelhampton regularly. His father was a stonemason and worked on the house. It was during this time that Thomas Hardy painted a watercolour of the house.
Hardy worked for the architect & builder Hicks of Dorchester at the time that St John’s Church at Athelhampton was being built and wrote in his letters that he set out the building on the first day of works in 1861.
He set the poem ‘The Dame of Athelhall’ at the house and ‘The children and Sir Nameless’ refers to the Martyn tombs in the Athelhampton Aisle of Puddletown Church.
Hardy records in his diary that he was dining at Athel Hall when the news of the declaration of war was received in 1914 and he remarks on his doubt that he has enough provisions for such a conflict.
These images are from the original glass negatives in the Athelhampton Archive.