In Conjunction with the University of Exeter

THS Study Day 2022 - Under the Greenwood Tree

In Conjunction with the University of Exeter

Saturday 23rd April at the Town Hall in the Corn Exchange Building, Dorchester

Begins 10.00am, registration opens at 9.15am.

This image may be subject to copyright

Illustration by R. Knight (1872)

2022 will mark the 150th anniversary of Under the Greenwood Tree, perhaps Hardy's most light-hearted novel, but one with hidden depths that become evident upon each re-reading. Its humorous depiction of life in an early Victorian rural community places it within Hardy's 'Novels of Character and Environment'. On the surface it concerns the trials and tribulations of the Mellstock Quire, based on the quire of which Hardy's own father and grandfather were members, and the machinations of Fancy Day, the new village schoolmistress, and her trio of suitors. It is interwoven with folklore and folksong, and underneath can be seen a repudiation of the eugenicist theories espoused by contemporaries such as Grant Allen and Francis Galton. Biological and social harmony undergird the novel which best encapsulates Hardy's notion of 'loving kindness'. 


Professor Simon Gatrell (University of Georgia in Athens, U.S.): 'Why Did Hardy Decide to Group Under the Greenwood Tree with the Novels of Character and Environment?'

Professor Angelique Richardson (University of Exeter): 'Hardy's Environments'.

Dr Peter Robson (The Folklore Society, U.K.): 'Under the Greenwood Tree and Beyond: The Mellstock Quire and Other Dorset Church Bands in Hardy's Writings and in Life'.

And a performance by The New Hardy Players of Songs from the Novel.

Tickets are £30 or £15 for Students/Unwaged. This includes all refreshments, a buffet lunch, and a wine reception at the close of the day. It will be followed by dinner at a local resturant for those who wish to join us.


9:45am Welcome and Announcements

10:00am Keynote Lecture – Professor Simon Gatrell (University of Georgia in Athens, U.S.) 'Why did Hardy decide to group Under the Greenwood Tree with the 'Novels of Character and Environment?''

11:00am Morning Refreshments

11:15am Plenary – Professor Angelique Richardson (University of Exeter) 'Hardy and the Environment'

12 Noon – The New Hardy Players: Songs from Under the Greenwood Tree

12:45 – 1:30pm Lunch

1:30pm – Call for Papers Panel -

Rev. Canon Richard Franklin – 'Parson Maybold and Parson Shirley: Contrasts and Comparisons'

Paul Sutton – 'A Labour of Love: Social Character, Social Change and the Village Quire'

Catherine Peck – 'Exploring the Country Cottage in Thomas Hardy's Under the Greenwood Tree'

Mark Chutter – '1872 and 2022 Mellstock Under Threat: an Eco-Reading of Under the Greenwood Tree'

3:00pm – Plenary – Dr Peter Robson (Independent Researcher) 'Under the Greenwood Tree and Beyond: The Mellstock Quire and other Dorset Church Bands in Hardy's Writings and in His Life'

3:45pm Afternoon Refreshments

4:00pm – Round Table Q&A

4:30pm Under the Greenwood Tree Quiz with Professor Simon Gatrell

5:00pm – Close and Thanks

5:15pm – Wine Reception

6:30pm – Dinner at Local Restaurant - All Welcome


Tickets can be purchased here:

For any enquiries please contact the THS Secretary - Dr Tracy Hayes -


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