Pillars Character

Tom Builder

Tom Builder
Tom as he appears in the TV series.
Vital Stats
Gender Male
Rank Master-Builder
Nationality English
Status Deceased
Family Agnes (Wife)

An Unnamed Brother

Ellen (Second Wife)

Alfred (Son; with Agnes)

Martha (Daughter; with Agnes)

Jonathan (Son; with Agnes)

Matilda (Daughter; with Agnes; deceased)

Harold (Son; with Agnes; deceased)

Jack Jackson (Stepson)

Tom Jackson (Step-grandson; via Jack)

Sally Jackson (Step-granddaughter; via Jack)

Civil War Allegiance N/A
Novels Appeared The Pillars of the Earth (POV)

World Without End (Mentioned)

TV Series Yes
TV Series Potrayal Rufus Sewell|-

Tom Builder is a main character of the book and TV series.


Tom was born in the north, in a house with at least one other brother. When he was around his early twenties he worked on a small parish church owned by his wife's, Agnes, Father who was the priest in the town. Agnes would often talk to him as he worked on the northern wall which had crumbled, and they built up a relationship, with Tom noticing the sexual nature of her body. One night Agnes came into the small hut in which he lived and they had sex together. They were both virgins.[1]At some later date, they had Alfred, a girl called Matilda who had died when she was two years old, a child who was born dead who Tom had wanted to call Harold. When Martha was born, he had been building a chapel, and the Lady Isabella had been the midwife.[2]

The Pillars of the EarthEdit

Part IEdit

Tom is first seen building a house for William Hamleigh. He enjoys making something so simple, but dreams of designing a church. His work is interupted by the arrival of a squire, who tells him that the house is to be discomissioned, due to the fact that the son of Lord they were building it for, marriage has been cancelled, and as such he has no need for it anymore. Tom is dismayed, as it means he and his family may struggle through the winter. William Hamleigh soon arrives, and demands they stop work.

Appearance and PersonalityEdit

Tom is very tall. He is an imposing figure that can often make other people back down, with a big bushy beard.

In reality, Tom is very kind and compassionate. He loves passionately and his dreams are fully realised, such as building the cathedral. He often looks after others but he can be strict, and authorative. Tom has a 'blind spot' for his son Alfred, who he doesn't realise is actually a vicious and cruel man. He is determinded when pursuing a task.


  • It is said that Tom was born in the north, but in the TV Series, he has an accent typically attributed to the southern area of England.


  1. "Pillars of the Earth", pg.59
  2. "Pillars of the Earth", pg.62
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