Saturday, 28 March 2009
This week I went to Letcombe Bassett, a village near Wantage which is called Cresscombe in Thomas Hardy's novel Jude the Obscure. It was genuinely old fashioned. I went to the Vale & Downland museum. I also spoke to a villager who pointed me in the direction of Arabella's Cottage by the watercress beds and told me, "it was where he came undone".
I have not yet read this novel but I am now intrigued and I'm going to watch the DVD of Jude this weekend.
The cottage appears to be surrounded by the watercress beds. The AA walking book says, "Arabella's cottage is where Jude, hiking over the downs, stumbles on his future wife washing pigs chitterlings in the local stream.She attracts Jude's attention by lobbing part of the pig at him, signalling the beginning of Jude's downfall."
Apparently Jonathan Swift also visited Letcombe Bassett in 1714 and spent his time writing under a mulberry tree in the Rectory garden.