Wool is a small village made famous by Thomas Hardy in his novel, ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’. He named it ‘Wellbridge’ and used the Manor House as the setting for his tragic heroine’s honeymoon night. Hardy describes the arched bridge over the River Frome as, ‘the great Elizabethan bridge which gives the place half its name’. Woolbridge Manor dates from the seventeenth century and was the home of the Turbervilles. Set amongst water meadows, this building easily conjures the atmosphere and sadness of the scene in the novel.
Just east of Wool are the ruins of the Cistercian Bindon Abbey, founded in 1172. Here is the open abbot’s coffin in which Thomas Hardy’s Angel Clare, laid his new bride, Tess, whilst walking in his sleep.
North of Wool is Moreton, where “Lawrence of Arabia” (T.E. Lawrence) is buried. He lived nearby at Clouds Hill, a small cottage, until his death in a motor cycle accident in 1935. The cottage is now owned by the National Trust. A Greek inscription over the door can be translated as, “nothing matters”.