Midsomer & Medieval Murders
GPX File of the Route Midsomer & Medieval Murders
The ‘Midsomer Murders’ Villages. (Almost every village here claims to have appeared in in the series, with plots around an improbable number of mysterious murders. You might not unreasonably expect to find bones scattered across village greens, cottage walls dripping blood and pubs packed with eccentric detectives.
Memories of even more, medieval, bloodshed at Ewelme
Olde churches, many retaining original features including what is perhaps the oldest inscription in English, a hagioscope and a Stone Cadaver. (If you want to know what the hell they were, read on...). And Olde pubs. Of course.
The old market town of Thame.
A cast of local characters includes Mercian and Saxon Kings, Plantagenet knights and schemers, Chaucer’s remarkable granddaughter and the odd pop star.
The usual goody bag of ephemera.
If you are interested, you can find a lot of general information on what has shaped this landscape from pre-history to the present day, elsewhere on this blog. Check this page: Link Other Stuff
If your app provides notes on the road surfaces etc. keep in mind that they are automatically generated and only as good as the underlying mapping.
The Aylesbury Vale is the valley of the River Thame. It has been suggested that this was one of several routes of the Thames, long before Ice Age glaciation diverted it through the Goring Gap to its present course. A lot of the valley floor is clay, with the low hills and outcrops being various concoctions of harder stones that resisted erosion rather more successfully.
For early man, clay wasn’t easy to plough, and the heart of the vale wasn’t a densely populated area. It still isn’t. Compared with now, much more land was devoted to sheep rearing. In contrast
The land below the Chilterns scarp was rich and fertile, blessed with streams and access to the higher ground of the Chilterns for grazing. The result was the string of villages, of which Ewelme is an example. But while the local agricultural economy did well in the centuries immediately after the Norman Conquest, it went sharply into reverse later in the 1300’s as the climate cooled, soils were exhausted and crop failures were followed by the Black Death at a time when England was almost constantly at war. Marginal villages shrank or disappeared, a process that continued for several centuries as the country adjusted to changing economic and social circumstances, not least of which were the increasingly better paid and footloose agricultural workforce and the enclosure (privatisation!) of swathes of the farmland.
A particular shift was from arable and subsistence farming to large scale sheep rearing, the profitability of which is attested by the quality of the Churches. And people started investing in the their property, adding windows, storeys and staircases. Many of the oldest houses that you see today were the result of this ‘Great Rebuilding’.
Initially, the enclosures were locally organised. Later, they could be enforced by an Act of Parliament as part of a process continued into Victorian times. The impact was most marked in the Vale, where the old system of open fields was gradually eradicated and replaced by a ‘rationalised’ layout, with many of the straight access routes and field boundaries that you see today.
A. Princes Risborough
B. Through Adwell & Postcombe
C. Brightwell Baldwin & John Ye Smyth
D. Ewelme - Chaucer & Jerome K Jerome
F. Chalgrove Village, Airfield & Manor
G. Ickford Bridge & Ickford - You are now leaving Oxfordshire
After the Civil war the Prebend of the Church was the delightfully named Calybute Downing probably because the local bigwig, the equally sweetly named Thomas Tipple was a Parliamentarian. Lucky Calybute; the prebend was effectively an income. But following the Restoration of the Monarchy it was among the goodies that changed hands and it passed to the more boringly named Gilbert Sheldon, who already had several livings to his name and eventually became Archbishop of Canterbury and presumably a lot richer still.