Escape Far From The Madding Crowd With Mansion Linked To Novelist Thomas Hardy 


The rural countryside of Dorset was the backdrop for many of the writings of esteemed novelist Thomas Hardy.

His novels like Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far From the Maddening Crowd are firmly set within the historic English countryside landscape, which stems from Hardy’s own personal connection to the county.

Hardy was born in Dorset and lived there for much of his life and because of his roots in the area many homes claim an affiliation to Hardy.

But at Hilfield Manor, the connection is genuine, and the seven-bedroom property is on the market for a cool £2.35 million.

“Any of the principal houses in the area will often claim a connection to the writer, but in this case it’s fairly well chronicled,” said James McKillop, a partner at Knight Frank, the British real estate agency.

Located in the village of Hermitage the home was built as an octagonal hunting lodge in 1880 by the Dampiers, a well-known family in the area.

It was expanded in 1901 by T.W. Dampier-Bide, according to the listing, and Hardy was known to be a guest of the family.

Current owners, Nick Tims, the managing director at London-based Investec Asset Management, and his wife, Rachel, “did an amazing job refurbishing and restoring” the home, McKillop said.

“It has a slightly contemporary feel and design in the interior, which contrasts perfectly with the fairly traditional and historic facade,” he added.

The home has been designed with family needs in mind with well-proportioned reception rooms for intimate evenings to the larger areas where the whole family can gather.

The modern kitchen has a breakfast nook and is adjacent to a more formal dining room.

Upstairs, the master suite is generously appointed with a bathroom with a double vanity and soaking tub that looks out over the lawns and gardens of the property.

A study (or additional bedroom) on the third floor opens up onto a roof area with panoramic views of the grounds and surrounding countryside.

“The landscape is so pretty, very unspoiled,” Mr. McKillop said. “It’s such a peaceful location, which is very rare.”

In addition to the main house, the property also includes a coach house—or a ‘party barn’ —and a lodge.

The coach house has plenty of space for entertaining, plus a games room, yoga studio, and a two-bedroom annex with sitting area. The lodge offers an additional three bedrooms.

Full listing details are available on

Abode Affiliates

  • Crane Resorts
  • Touch Design Group
  • Prestige Architects
  • Monaco Real Estates
  • Ibiza Transit Express
  • RDO
  • Oyster Yachts
  • Edenhurst
  • Pedini London
  • Wings
  • The Coastal House
  • Wall Street Luxury
  • Coldwell Banker
  • St Francis Links
  • Dost & Co
  • Rosemont Consulting
  • Moore Stephen
  • Lida Cucina
  • Chamonix Ski Chalet
  • Enigma Yachts Limited
  • The Hideaways Club
  • Habitat First Group
  • Ultra Villa
  • Cyan International Properties
  • Unique Home Stays
  • Gama Property
  • Jumeirah
  • Strutt and Parker
  • Yoo
  • Panorama
  • Dimora
  • Knight Frank
  • Alleyne Real Estate
  • Isle Blue
  • Harry Manning
  • Cornerstone Tax Advisors
  • Luxury Italian Living
  • Worldwide Property
  • Heron Real Estate
  • St Edward
  • Blevins Franks
  • Smart Currency Exchange
  • BDO
  • CID
  • 7Storeys
  • MG&AG
  • Luxe Caribbean Properties
  • Worldwide Dream Villas
  • Alexander James
  • Dominic McKenzie Architects
  • Destinology
  • Smart Living

Enter your dream destination