Claydon in Far From the Madding Crowd

Scene from the film Far From The Madding Crowd

Far From the Madding Crowd, Claydon's remote location and stunning interiors provided the perfect setting to represent William Boldwood’s mansion.

Far From the Madding Crowd is the story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors – Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, who is captivated by her fetching wilfulness, Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant, and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor.

Recreating Boldwood’s mansion

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

‘One of the most striking features was the attention to detail,’ said Claydon volunteer Jane Randall, recalling the shoot.

‘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.’

The remote Buckinghamshire location also made Claydon an ideal location. ‘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.’

Filming in Hardy country

Much of the filming of Far From the Madding Crowd took place in Hardy's home county of Dorset. In Higher Bockhampton we look after the small thatched cottage where Hardy was born and wrote Far from the Madding Crowd, his fourth novel.

A few miles away we care for Max Gate, the Dorchester home he designed in 1885, and in 2014 Slepe Heath came into our care. A wild and windswept heathland, Slepe Heath is thought to have been the inspiration for Hardy’s fictional Egdon Heath in the novel The Return of the Native.

Far From the Madding Crowd was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures in association with BBC Films and TSG Entertainment on 1 May 2015.