Max Gate is the house Thomas Hardy designed and had built after he'd sold a few of his novels. Garden pictures are here.
He felt his social status had gone up since his birth in a humble cottage where he'd lived with his mother who was a former servant. His new home reflected this.
While we were there a very charming man read some of Hardy's work, sang songs and played tunes which are mentioned in his novels.
This seems an appropriate time for a reminder about this competition for a story set at, or inspired by, a historic house.