Famous Writers

William Golding, Thomas Hardy, Leslie Thomas, T.E Lawrence, Samuel Pepys, Bill Bryson

These are the writers of which Salisbury is famous for. Who cannot have read William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” and shuddered at the barbaric behaviour of the school children? Well, William Golding would have known what boys were like as he taught in the boys grammar school in the city, Bishops Wordsworth School. He wrote “The Spire”, a most interesting perspective on what building the spire was all about.

Leslie Thomas lived in the Close and wrote “Almost Heaven”. He also stated that the book was: “True and almost true tales about a cathedral”.

Samuel Pepys visited Salisbury in 1668. We know this because he recorded it in his famous diaries. He wrote that he liked the silk sheets on his bed at the Old George Inn, but found Old Sarum dark and scary.

Bill Bryson an American writer who writes hugely entertaining books and visited the city.
“Notes from a Small Island” – “I like Salisbury very much. It’s just the right size… is no doubt in my mind that Salisbury Cathedral is the single most beautiful structure in England and The Close around it the most beautiful space.

Thomas Hardy is known as the “Wessex writer” and there are a number of sites associated with him, the main one being Dorchester where his statue can be seen. It is also possible to visit the cottage where he lived as a child in Upper Bockhampton and the house he had built, Max Gate, just outside of Dorchester. His writing covers much of Wessex so a Hardy Tour can be organised around the sites that are of most interest to the visitor.

The following writers are associated with Wessex along with Thomas Hardy.

Jane Austen
A very popular female writer whose influence has reached far beyond the times when she was writing. Films made of her written words are popular throughout the globe. If it is possible to capture the essence of her writing long after her death, it is to the places she inhabited that perhaps are the most fruitful. A visit to Chawton, the home of her and her mother, her sister and her friend; the table at which she sat to rewrite her stories; the city where she danced in the Dolphin Hotel when she reached eighteen; a walk along the seafront where she had walked; the place where her tomb can be seen. There are so many places to visit in search of Jane Austen, writer and woman, that we are spoiled for choice.

Charles Dickens
A prolific writer, fantastic storyteller, philanthropist and a man with vast imagination. His life started in Portsmouth and he described his childhood:
“…a very small and not over particularly taken care of boy…”
He had experienced deprivation and poverty and wrote for the poorer people who he empathised with.

T. E Lawrence
In Moreton, Dorset, lies the grave of T.E.Lawrence. It is a quiet, rural village, much like the place where Lawrence’s own house was built and not far from the cemetery. The house is most unusual and rather touches on the mystery of the man known as “Lawrence of Arabia”. Lawrence travelled extensively and had a sense of adventure and daring that somewhat mystifies us still.



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