Thomas Hardy

In November 1891 Marnhull achieved new fame as the home of “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” when Thomas Hardy published what was to become one of his most popular books. The Crown (“Pure Drop Inn”) at Marnhull (“Marlott”) was the place John Durbeyfield, Tess’s father, decided to celebrate that he was in fact of the aristocratic d’Urbervilles.

The final paragraph of chapter XIV deals with Tess burying her illegitimate child in St Gregory’s churchyard “…in a shabby corner of God’s allotment where He lets the nettles grow, and where all unbaptized infants, notorious drunkards, suicides, and others of the conjecturally damned are laid”. The book appeared at a time when the establishment, that Hardy condemned, was increasingly under interrogation and it caused an outcry in some sections of society.