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.