Thomas Hardy was born in Upper Bockhampton near Dorchester, Dorset. His father was a stonemason. His mother was ambitious and had read a lot. She added to his formal education. Hardy trained as an architect in Dorchester before moving to London to get a job. He won prizes from the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Architectural Association.
Hardy wrote a small number of novels which earned him a high reputation in his lifetime. These include Tess of the Durbervilles, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Far from the Madding Crowd. After the publication of Jude the Obscure in 1895 Hardy gave up novel writing but continued to write poetry including an epic poem called The Dynasts. Hardy set his novels in South West England, calling it Wessex, and inventing names for individual towns, e.g. Casterbridge is Dorchester in Dorset. Hardy died in Dorchester. His ashes are buried in Westminster Abbey.