Barchester Towers

Characters of the novel

The High Church faction

  • Archdeacon Grantly, Dr Theophilus Grantly, is the son of the former Bishop of Barchester, Dr Grantly senior, who dies at the start of the novel. Married to Susan Harding, he has three sons (Charles James, Henry, and Samuel) and two daughters (Florinda and Griselda) and lives at Plumstead Episcopi. His sister-in-law is Mrs Eleanor Bold, née Harding.
  • Mrs Susan Grantly, Mr Harding's elder daughter and the Archdeacon's wife.
  • Mr Septimus Harding is the meek, elderly precentor of Barchester and Rector of the church of St. Cuthbert's near the Cathedral Close. He was formerly Warden of Hiram's Hospital, but resigned in The Warden.
  • Mr Francis Arabin, vicar of St Ewold, Fellow of Lazarus College and former professor of poetry at Oxford University. He is a former follower of John Henry Newman and adheres to the High Church faction of the Anglican Church. Arabin is sought out by Dr Grantly as an ally against the evangelical faction of Bishop Proudie, his wife and chaplain Obadiah Slope.
  • Dr Gwynne, Master of Lazarus College, another ally.

The Low Church faction

  • Bishop Proudie, a henpecked, weak-willed bishop who is constantly influenced by his wife Mrs Proudie and his chaplain Obadiah Slope concerning the matters of the see.
  • Mrs Olivia Proudie, his wife. A proud, vulgar, domineering wife, who promotes evangelical causes such as Sunday schools, and is adamant in eliminating high-church rituals.
  • Mr Obadiah Slope, a wheedling oily chaplain who has much influence over Bishop Proudie. Midway in the novel Slope decides that he will marry Mrs Eleanor Bold (née Harding), and sets about courting her. Formerly Mrs Proudie's ally, he comes into conflict with Mrs Proudie over the wardenship of Hiram's Hospital and she regards him as a traitor. The narrator speculates that he is a lineal descendant of Doctor Slop from the novel Tristram Shandy.


  • Mrs Eleanor Bold, widow of John Bold with an infant son. She is Mr Septimus Harding's younger daughter. She has three potential suitors in Barchester Towers: Mr Obadiah Slope, Mr Bertie Stanhope and Mr Francis Arabin.
  • Dr Vesey Stanhope is the rector of Crabtree Canonicorum and of Stogpingum, both in the diocese of Barchester and a Prebendary of Barchester Cathedral. He and his family lived for twelve years in Italy before being recalled by Bishop Proudie on Obadiah Slope's advice. He has two daughters, Charlotte and Madeline, and a son, Bertie (Ethelbert).
  • Signora Madeline Vesey Neroni née Madeline Stanhope is the beautiful younger daughter of Dr Vesey Stanhope. Lamed by her abusive Italian husband, she is a cripple who needs to be carried around the house on a sofa, although it does not stop her constantly flirting with all men. She has a young daughter.
  • Ethelbert "Bertie" Stanhope is the only son of Dr Vesey Stanhope. An idling, carefree man who never settles down in anything he does, although he is a gifted artist, and who borrows and spends a great deal and earns nothing. His sister Charlotte advises him to woo the rich and beautiful widow Eleanor Bold.
  • Charlotte Stanhope is the elder daughter of Dr Vesey Stanhope. She is the manager of the family and a good friend of Eleanor Bold until Eleanor realises Charlotte is the primary instigator of her brother wooing her.
  • Mr Quiverful, a poor clergyman with 14 children who becomes the new Warden of Hiram's Hospital.
  • Mrs Letty Quiverful, his wife.
  • Wilfred Thorne, the squire of St Ewold's. A bachelor of about fifty who comes under the charms of Signora Neroni.
  • Miss Monica Thorne, his spinster sister of about sixty, who is an extreme traditionalist. She throws a party at their residence for the notables of Barsetshire.

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