Small Town Perfection: Barchester


I would argue that Anthony Trollope’s Chronicles of Barsetshire are amongst the best books ever written.  They’re witty, with a brand of affectionate satire’s that’s not easily found these days.  He harpoons those with pretensions to greatness, and rewards those with good natures with a happy ever after.

The town of Barchester, with its cathedral, is at the heart of the first two novels in the series, The Warden and Barchester Towers.  They follow Septimus Harding, the elderly warden of Hiram’s Hospital, and his relations.  There’s a romance between his youngest daughter Eleanor and the church reformer John Bold.

It was these two first novels that was adapted for television in the 1980s as The Barchester Chronicles, a series that – to my everlasting fury – you can’t buy from any streaming provider or even iTunes, and is only available on DVD.  With a young Alan Rickman and Susan Hampshire as part of the cast, it’s definitely worth a watch!


I’ve spent many a happy hour in Barchester, and always adore returning to its quiet streets.


3 thoughts on “Small Town Perfection: Barchester

  1. I fell in love with the Barchester chronicles as a teen and enjoyed the TV adaptation; the one I saw was and earlier version – for some reason I missed the Alan Rickman version. TV is a great introduction to the classics. My first taste of Jane Austen was an ancient adaptation of Emma (in black and white!); rushed to the library to borrow the book and have never looked back.


    • Ooooo…I didn’t know of an earlier television adaptation; I’ll have to check it out!

      Yes, BBC period drama adaptations had a huge influence on the books I inhaled when I was younger – Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters remains one of my favourites because of this!


  2. I’ve been meaning to give Trollope a try for the longest time. But after watching the Dr. Thorne adaption recently I was a little put off. People have said it wasn’t a good adaption but I’m a little wary. It’s funny how a good T.V adaption can makes us love a book, and then a bad one can ruin it isn’t it?


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