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Far from the Madding Crowd filmed at Claydon

Christmas party in Far from the Madding Crowd with actors Matthias Schoenaerts and Carey Mulligan filmed at Claydon House, Buckinghamshire
Christmas party in Far from the Madding Crowd with actors Matthias Schoenaerts and Carey Mulligan filmed at Claydon House | © Fox Searchlight Pictures

Far from the Madding Crowd is a 2015 British romantic drama adapted from Thomas Hardy’s literary classic about farm owner Bathsheba Everdene played by actor Carey Mulligan. Find out how Claydon in Buckinghamshire was transformed into a filming location for the story to unfold.

The story of Far from the Madding Crowd

Far From the Madding Crowd tells the story of farm owner Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), and her relationships with three suitors – sheep farmer Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), soldier Sergeant Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), and prosperous bachelor William Boldwood (Michael Sheen).

The film’s script, written by David Nicholls, was the fourth big-screen adaptation of the original 1874 novel by Thomas Hardy.

Recreating Boldwood’s mansion

Claydon House’s remote location and lavish interiors provided the perfect setting to represent Boldwood’s mansion.

The Christmas party scene

The grand 18th-century interiors offered an elegant backdrop for the filming of his Christmas party, one of the pivotal scenes in director Thomas Vinterberg’s adaptation of the classic Wessex tale.

Jane Randall was a volunteer at Claydon when filming took place and recalls the shoot. She said: ‘One of the most striking features was the attention to detail. There was a whole team engaged in gift-wrapping Boldwood’s presents to Bathsheba, dozens of Christmas trees dressed with ribbons and fruit decorations and a full Christmas dinner prepared in the volunteers’ tea-room.’

View of the west front exterior at Claydon House, Buckinghamshire
View of the west front exterior at Claydon House | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Why Claydon was an ideal filming location

The remote location of Claydon made it an ideal place to film the story. ‘The lack of neighbouring buildings or main roads meant that you felt as if we had stepped back in time as soon as you turned into the drive,’ said the film’s location manager Alex Gladstone.

Even the herd of cows proved perfect and were cast and featured alongside the house.

A quote by Alex Gladstone Location Manager

Filming in Hardy country

Apart from Claydon, much of the filming for the story took place in Hardy's home county of Dorset. In Higher Bockhampton, we also look after the small, thatched cottage where he was born and wrote Far from the Madding Crowd, which was his fourth novel.

A few miles away we care for Max Gate, the Dorchester home he designed in 1885, as well as the wild and windswept heathland at Slepe Heath, which is thought to have been the inspiration for Hardy’s fictional Egdon Heath in the novel The Return of the Native.

Supporting special places

As well as showing off beautiful locations, filming directly benefits the places in our care that star in the production. The income from location fees goes straight back into conservation work to care for historic houses and landscapes, so that we’ll all be able to see them both on screen and in real life for years to come.

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