Doctor Thorne Analysis
by Anthony Trollope

Start Your Free Trial

Download Doctor Thorne Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Greshamsbury Court

Greshamsbury Court. Ancient ancestral home of the Gresham family in Anthony Trollope’s fictional Barsetshire. Despite extreme economic hardship, the home represents Barsetshire’s wealthy landowners. To pay his debts, Squire Gresham sells one-third of his estate to Roger Scatcherd. Gresham welcomes nonaristocrats to Greshamsbury, in which the penniless orphan Mary Thorne is long treated almost as one of the Gresham children. Even Scatcherd, the wealthy but alcoholic stonemason, is not shunned by the squire.

The squire’s son, Frank, is heir to the Gresham title and estate, but he comes to hate Greshamsbury and his obligation to marry money to avoid financial ruin. If inheriting the family means losing Mary’s love, he prefers to reject it and instead become a lawyer, doctor, or farmer. Frank sees Greshamsbury as a burden; Mary sees it as a home no longer welcoming to her. To the squire, the estate symbolizes his failure to protect Frank’s inheritance.

Greshamsbury stands as a barometer of the characters’ attitudes. Like De Courcy Castle, Greshamsbury falters and nearly crumbles while its finances and pedigree are controlled by Squire and Lady Gresham. Unlike De Courcy Castle’s undiluted aristocracy, however, Greshamsbury is revived by a healthy mix of people with and without social pedigrees, old wealth, or newly inherited wealth. The involvement of Mary, Dr. Thorne, and Roger Scatcherd rescues Greshamsbury from ruin. As Greshamsbury’s newest owner, Mary returns it to the Gresham family instead of using it for revenge.

De Courcy Castle

De Courcy Castle. Ancestral Barsetshire home of the noble, wealthy, and highly pedigreed De Courcy family. The estate symbolizes one extreme of social attitude—nobility and superiority over others, an unyielding adherence to rigid standards of class distinction. The castle’s presence is additionally required as a mechanism for bringing Frank Gresham and Miss Dunstable together, until Frank realizes that he values true love over wealth and social standing.

Located in West Barsetshire, the castle is seen by Frank as “dull” and a “huge brick pile.” It appears anachronistic, uninviting, and architecturally unimpressive. Forced by his aunt and mother to visit De Courcy Castle in the hope that he will fall in love with wealthy Miss Dunstable, Frank regards the castle as the embodiment of barrenness of heart. There, he is expected to forget his true love for Mary Thorne and marry the much older heiress, thereby restoring the requisite wealth and position to Greshamsbury.

De Courcy Castle’s apparent coldness resurfaces when Augusta Gresham later seeks cousin Amelia De Courcy’s wisdom concerning Mr. Gazebee, a young attorney; from within the castle’s emotional sterility, Amelia counsels Augusta to reject Gazebee’s proposal because he is merely a laborer, not a landed nobleman. (Ironically, Amelia later realizes the value of Gazebee’s character and marries him herself.)

Gatherum Castle

Gatherum Castle. Satirically named home of the duke of Omnium and the site of Frank Gresham’s disillusionment with upper-class manners. Frank sees the castle as a grand, oversized, fancy, but usually uninhabited shell of a home. Through his eyes, readers see that—like the aristocracy—Gatherum Castle is magnificent and noble when seen from a distance, but up close it lacks any inviting warmth or the simple courtesies of human interaction. Frank desires neither such a home nor such a social circle as those represented by Gatherum.

Boxall Hill

Boxall Hill. Estate of Roger Scatcherd that is literally and metaphorically the halfway point between Greshamsbury and the city of Barchester. Formerly constituting one-third of the Greshamsbury estate, Boxall Hill becomes Scatcherd’s property as repayment for his loan to the squire. The ownership shift, and the relative ease with which it takes place, marks the Gresham family’s gradually changing attitudes. Significantly, Boxall Hill...

(The entire section is 976 words.)