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Monday, June 8, 2009

Thomas Hardy's Grave

Novelist Thomas Hardy's heart is buried at Stinsford Churchyard, north of Dorchester along with his first wife (Emma nee Gifford) and second wife (Florence Emily nee Dugdale).

Hardy's ashes after his cremation in Woking are placed at Poets' Corner in Westminter Abbey in London.

Thomas Hardy's Grave

It was not unusual for bodies to be thus divided in this manner (Lord Byron's heart is said to remain in Greece while his body was brought back to England), though Hardy's own wishes before his death were to be buried with his other family members in St Michael's in Stinsford.

However, Sir Sydney Carlyle Cockerell, Hardy's executor, insisted that Hardy be buried in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner. Thus the rather bizarre compromise of removing the writer's heart (rumours, probably false, sprung up that it was prompty eaten by the surgeon's cat) and burying it in the grave of his first wife Emma.

Thomas Hardy's Grave

St Michael's Church, Stinsford, dates back to the 13th century - the tower is original 14th century and the churchyard is also the burial place of the poet and former poet laureate Cecil Day Lewis (1904-1972).

The church was Hardy's family church and both his father and grandfather had played in the choir. Hardy himself had taught at the Sunday school.


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