Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Barchester Cathedral. Seat of the bishop of Barchester. The close, the building complex surrounding the cathedral, provides the main physical setting for the novel. The magnificent Gothic church and attached collateral structures and the remunerative livings that go with them present the target for both Trollope’s satire and the reformer’s jibes. Trollope describes the close and its occupants, as he does throughout the entire novel, in often contradictory ways. On one hand, the buildings and their occupants are unquestionably examples of a church rich in money and privilege, but they also represent a tradition rich in architectural beauty and in spiritual value. It is the tension between these conflicting views that proves the fuel for Trollope’s narrative.
Hiram’s hospital. Barchester hospital of which Mr. Harding is warden. It is a venerable institution devoted to the maintenance of twelve indigent old men of Barchester that is supported by an ancient beneficence, the bulk of whose income goes to the warden rather than to the old men. The hospital and its sinecure thus become a perfect target for the reformers, and especially after the hospital’s financial arrangements come under attack by reforming zealots backed by the national newspaper, The Jupiter–Trollope’s name for The Times of London. The physical location of the warden’s residence on the close surrounding the cathedral points to its central place, both literally and symbolically, in Trollope’s satirical look at Victorian religious institutions. Here, Harding and his unmarried daughter live in quiet comfort, unaware of the furor that is about to erupt. Harding goes about his rounds doing what good he can for his charges unaware of the discrepancy in the distribution of the founder’s money. The somnambulant hospital grounds mirrors this lack of awareness.
Plumstead Episopi. Home of Archdeacon Grantly. Trollope’s penchant for evocative names is clear in his calling this rather grand, overblown example of the Church of England’s system of patronage, “Plumstead.” As its name suggests, it is a “plum” of a place and is accompanied by a substantial salary. Although Grantly works hard at his job and is not a target of the reformers’ crusade, his living and style of life provides another example of ecclesiastical excess which is satirized in the novel.
*Westminster Abbey. One of London’s most famous landmarks, an eleventh century Gothic church that has been the site of most royal coronations and is the burial place of many of England’s greatest figures. During an interlude near the end of the novel, Harding spends a contemplative afternoon at the abbey, where he wanders around the church sorting out the various options open to him concerning his position as warden. In the sanctity of the church, he makes up his mind about his fate. The abbey is an island of solitude in the sea of commercial London and therefore suited to Harding’s character and temperament. It becomes the perfect place, away from all of the turmoil of Barchester, where he can make his unpopular but principled decision to leave his position.