Donald Farfrae [MOC] is now celebrating ten years as Mayor. A powerful man in local agriculture, he is locked into a deadly rivalry with Diggory Venn [ROTN], who has moved into commerce in a big way on the back of his successful dairy business.
Knapwater House [DR]
Cytherea Aldclyffe, a lady of forty or thereabouts, has moved out to the "Old House" under the inducement of a large sack of gold. She has taken her father, the Captain, with her.
Upper Mellstock [All UTGT]
Reuben Dewy is now just about 60, and already a great-grandfather. But Reuben's love of music, ale, cider (and women) hasn't abated. He's still playing the fiddle and leading the remnants of the old church "band", as he earns a few shillings at dances and parties. Also still working as a tranter (19th century white-van man, carrying assorted goods around the country) - he never made enough to retire early, as his wife Ann is always keen to remind him. Reuben lives in Upper Mellstock, a couple of miles north of Lower Mellstock slightly farther from the church, in a large thatched cottage.
Elizabeth Endorfield - local "witch". Actually no more than a "deep body" with a good information network and sound local wisdom. We hope. Now extremely ancient.
Lower Mellstock [All UTGT]
Dick Dewy, Reuben's eldest, has followed him into the trade of tranter. Now a rotund chap of around forty, Dick became a grand-father when his eldest (also Richard) got young Pity Onmey in the family way (he had to marry her, of course). Dick's wife Fancy has lost much of her youthful glamour and vivacity, although her father's money has helped with the strain of producing 12 children - of whom 10 survive, from Richard Jr down to 4-year-old Charity. Fancy is expecting again, and she doesn't appear overjoyed about it. Dick still goes out playing the violin with his father, and Fancy isn't over-chuffed with that, either.
Nat Callcome, Dick's best man many years ago, has settled into a routine of part-time carpentry and cider-drinking. Vashti (nee Sniff) his wife hits him with the furniture from time to time.
Mellstock Church End [All UTGT]
Revd Arthur Maybold is slightly older than Dick. He lives in the vicarage next to the church - half a mile from Lower Mellstock along the embowered riverbank path - with his wife, Charlotte.
In an environment well-populated with idiots, Thomas Leaf is in the premier league. A beautiful treble voice is wasted since Charlotte Maybold (the organist) won't have him in the choir.
Blooms End and Egdon Heath [All ROTN]
Clement Yeobright is a middle-aged bachelor, living alone in Blooms End a little to the east of Upper Mellstock, and on the edge of Egdon Heath. His general helper is Christian Cantle, another one on the dim side, and who suffers from fear of the dark, and the supernatural. Christian does some cooking and helps with the garden. "Clym" does a lot of wandering on the heath pondering the meaning of things, and preaching on non-religious themes in the open air.
Johnny Nonsuch was a poorly child, but became much better after a local disaster affecting two people being drowned and Mrs Yeobright being killed by an adder. Johnny is the landlord of the inn on Egdon, the Quiet Woman, where the ale is very good but can be turned sour by the sight of Johnny's old mother, Susan Nonsuch, scowling at you from the chimney corner.
Charlie lives on the house at Eustacia Knap (formerly Mistover Knap). He somehow acquired it when its former occupant, the Sea Captain, died. There is a certain mystery over the will. And why Charlie refuses ever to consider marriage.
Away to the north of Upper Mellstock, Yalbury is the home of "Keeper" Geoffrey Day [UTGT, FFMC]. As retired head-gamekeeper for the Earl of Wessex, Geoffrey is not short of a bob or two - which is just as well, as Dick Dewey's generally relaxed attitude to business means that Geoffrey is often called on to support his son-in-law and Fancy, his daughter.
Welland House and Warborne [All TOAT]
Viviette, Lady Constantine lives at Welland House near Warborne. Her husband has been away in foreign parts a long time. Meanwhile, some say she's a little over-fond of young Swithin St Cleve, who's brainier than his wealth and breeding should allow.
Weatherbury [All FFMC]
Bathsheba Everdene lives at and runs Weatherbury House, where she is lusted after by Farmer Boldwood, Gabriel Oak and, when he is around, "Sergeant" Frank Troy.
Gabriel Oak lodges with Jan Coggan, Jan's wife and their ever-expanding brood. Clym is working as shepherd on Weatherbury Farm, where he frequently performs heroics when assorted parts of the farm and its produce are threatened with rain, fire, storm or exploding sheep.
Being a village, Weatherbury also has its obligatory idiot, in Joseph Poorgrass. A deeply religious man, more intelligent and philosophical than Tommy Leaf or Christian Cantle, Joseph also has a tendency to suffer from a "multiplying eye", which seems to have a relationship to how much he has been drinking.
Fanny Robin has gone missing.
UTGT - Under the Greenwood Tree
ROTN - Return of the Native
FFMC - Far from the Madding Crowd
MOC - Mayor of Casterbridge
TOAT - Two on a Tower
DR - Desperate Remedies