Chapter 1: Wanderwell, 1826
Updated: Oct 1, 2020
Where or what is Wanderwell?
It's more than just the setting for the most pivotal scene in the novel.
Wanderwell is located in Bridport on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset. It is almost fully within the Local Nature Reserve of the parish of Bothenhampton. I first found reference to Wanderwell on a map of Bridport and West Bay from 1835, but understand it was the site of a limestone quarry whose operations go back to the 14th century when the stone extracted was used to construct the chancel of the old Bothenhampton Church and the Chantry on South Street in Bridport. The quarry was operating until the turn of the 20th century when the product was all but exhausted and the advent of rail transportation allowed brick and concrete to be economically imported.
Quarry Lane figures prominently in "Ananias". The picture above by Derek Harper captures not only the scene, but more critically, the mood.