Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The Reverend Septimus Harding

The Reverend Septimus Harding, a kind and gentle man who had been a minor canon near Barchester for many years. At the age of fifty, he had become precentor of Barchester Cathedral, a position that included the wardenship of Hiram’s Hospital. The latter was an almshouse for twelve old men established by the will of John Hiram four centuries earlier. Through the efforts of John Bold, a local reformer, and the Jupiter, a newspaper devoted to attacking the greed and power of the church, Mr. Harding is accused of receiving too large an income from his management of the hospital. The legal issue is ambiguous and the almshouse has been well managed, but Harding, distressed that others might question the justice of his position, resigns. All the legal and ecclesiastical officials, even John Bold himself, protest the resignation. After the suit is dropped, the bishop offers the warden a position as chaplain in the bishop’s house, but Harding refuses this charity and lives in poor lodgings in town, supported only by his tiny living near the Cathedral Close.

Eleanor Harding

Eleanor Harding, the favorite and younger daughter of Septimus Harding. She is in love with John Bold. Fully cog-nizant of her father’s sensitivity, she understands why he wants to resign his wardenship. In a scene that reveals their love for each other, she begs John Bold to drop the suit, as he does. She marries Bold, and her father frequently visits the couple.

The Reverend Theophilus Grantly

The Reverend Theophilus Grantly, the archdeacon of Barchester and rector of Plumstead Episcopi. He is the son of the bishop and the son-in-law of Mr. Harding. Archdeacon Grantly believes in “the sacred justice of...

(The entire section is 732 words.)