Why did Hardy decide to rename most the towns and cities in south-west England?
Looking at the map at the front of my copy of Tess, I notice even Reading, the town where I live, seems to have been re-named Aldbrickham. That seems to be a reference to one of Reading's previous industries - bricks. Reading used to be known for the 3B's: bulbs, bricks and biscuits. Of the other nearby towns, Oxford seems to have been renamed Christminster. Wantage seems to have been renamed Alfredston, probably after Alfred the Great, who is said to be born there. Windsor has been renamed Castle Royal. I guess Quartershot is Aldershot, while Kennetbridge is Newbury. I wouldn't like to say for sure where Gaymead represents, most likely Theale. All these places are quite a long way from Dorset where most the main action is. Some quite small towns are shown on the map, while many quite large towns are not shown. I suppose quite a few of the towns not shown were not so large then, for example Basingstoke. Surprisingly, Portsmouth and Southampton have kept their real names. Some geographical features have kept their real names too, but not all I don't think.