Midsomer Murders | History

Midsomer Murders is a beloved English crime series in which nostalgia plays an important role – and so does history. Read the history of Midsomer County here.

„History in Midsomer Murders is woven into the very warp and woof of England’s history.“

Honoria Lyddiard did not say it quite like that in “Written in Blood”, but she would certainly have done so – and she would have been thoroughly right.


But how is this interwovenness of English history in Midsomer Murders?

Well, there are numerous episodes in Midsomer Murders that deal with English history, be it the Civil War and its battles, the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings, World War 2, or many others. On the other hand, there are also numerous historical details that do not concern English history, but the history of Midsomer County. For example the landscape painter Henry Hogson, the famous horror actresses Stella Harris and Diana Davenport, or Lower Warden’s Ellis Bell, author of “The House of Satan”.

Yes, more dates are mentioned in the episodes, but – like in other regional history chronicles – I have limited it to local celebrities, important events, wars, and tragic incidents. If I might have forgotten something, please contact me by email.

There are many different things to discover about history in Midsomer Murders.



The History of Midsomer Murders’ County

This chronology contains all the important dates from Midsomer’s history until the end of season 22 of Midsomer Murders. Caution, it may contain spoilers for you if you haven’t watched all the episodes yet.

You would rather have a chronological overview of the story, but sorted by season of Midsomer Murders? Nothing could be easier. You can find it here: History in Midsomer Murders by Episodes.
For the calculation of some events that are only indirectly dated (e.g. “a hundred years ago”), I have chosen the year of broadcast in the UK as the reference year.

If you would like to honour my effort and passion, I am happy and thankful for every donation.

Before 43 AD: Prehistoric

About 800 BC (Iron Age)

In Midsomer Barrow, a local ruler, the Fisher King, is murdered with a spear in his leg and a role model for the Fisher King from the later Arthurian legend and the so called “Dolorous Stroke”/„Dolorous Blow“. Midsomer’s Fisher King is buried in the land that later becomes part of the Heldman’s estate. (07×03: The Fisher King)

Before 43 BC (Celts)

The Celts have a shrine at Midsomer Sanctae where St Frideswide Abbey is later built. (12×04: The Glitch)


43-425: Romans

Sometime between 43 BC and the 5th century (Romans)

In Midsomer Vinae the Romans grow wine. (17×04: A Vintage Murder)


425-1066: Anglo-Saxons

Sometime between the 5th and the 7th century (Anglo-Saxons)

A Saxon burial ground is created in the later Midsomer Mallow. After that, Midsomer Manor is built on this area. (03×03: Judgement Day)

A battle between Norsemen (Vikings) and Saxons takes place at Gorse Meadow in Midsomer Mow – the Battle of Hallows Beck. The Saxons were victorious. (14×05: The Sleeper Under the Hill)


The Pope condemns the Beltane cult, in which men fight each other with stags on their heads, and declares in an edict: “Whoever at the Calends of January [that’s January 1st] goes about in the form of a stag, that is changing himself into the form of an animal, dressing in the skin of a horned beast and putting on the head of a beast, who in such wise transform themselves into the appearances of a wild animal, penance for three years, because it’s devilish!“ (14×06: The Night of the Stag)


1066-1485: Medieval


Sir Richard Guillaume of Normandy is in the retinue of William, Duke of Normandy and takes part in the Battle of Hastings. He kills many of the Saxons. (Lady Matilda William, wife of his direct descendant, later recounts: “His Sword of Guillaume, as his weapon became known, took many Anglo Saxon lives and came to symbolise everything that the English hated about the French.”) After the Battle of Hastings, which was victorious for him, King William I entrusted his faithful Sir Richard with “the land now known as Brighton and Hove”. In 1069, Sir Richard found St. Peter‘s in Brighton, dedicated to the Seaman and Fisherman. Later he moved to Midsomer Parva and was buried there in the church with his sword. (13×01: The Sword of Guillaume)


Chainey’s Field in Midsomer Mallow is mentioned as common land in Domesday Book. (07×02: Bad Tidings)

End of the 12th century or later

On a wall in the crypt of the church in Midsomer St Claire, an unusual Domesday painting is created, which does not show the crossroads between salvation and damnation as usual, but only medieval methods of torture. (16×02: Let Us Prey)

About 1300

Start of Frideswide pilgrimages in Midsomer County: Very many pilgrim groups use Pilgrims’ Ride at Midsomer Sanctae to make a pilgrimage to the Abbey of St Frideswide to ask the saint for blessings and help. (12×04: The Glitch)


In Midsomer Abbas, there are long frosts in the spring that stunt the year’s harvest and brought starvation to many residents. They get help from the neighbouring village “over the valley”, Midsomer Herne, who bring part of their apple harvest. (14×06: The Night of the Stag)

15th century (probably second half)

In Midsomer County, a devout woman, Cicely Milson, is interrogated and tortured for three weeks by her tormentors. Her family flees to France to escape the torture. The family treasure, however, remained with Cicely. Cicely dies during the torture and is buried with her family hoard. She is later venerated as a martyr. (18×05: Sinners and Saints)


1485-1603: Tudor

Sometime between 1509 and 1547 (Reign of Henry VIII)

There is a public footpath in Fletcher’s Cross. It leads (later?) through the Cavendish estate. (02×03: Dead Man’s Eleven)


A monk working for the Inquisition writes a letter telling that he owns part of the Tyndale Bible (11×05: The Magician’s Nephew) (Note: it is not explicitly stated that this monk lived in Midsomer County, but his letter is found in a library there.)

Sometime between 1536 and 1541 (Dissolution of Monasteries)

The Inkpens obtain a formerly clerical property in Midsomer Deverell, becomes “Inkpen Manor”. (04×01: Garden of Death)

The abbey at Monksbarton is dissolved – by force, because the monks probably refused to give it up. However, they are driven into flight by the royal soldiers and literally hunted down and slaughtered in the adjacent Monksbarton Wood. (11×07: Talking to the Dead)

The Abbey of St Frideswide in Midsomer Sanctae is dissolved. It is no longer used and falls into ruin. (12×04: The Glitch)

When monasteries were dissolved, Parva Manor got the land and in this way also a chapel which stands near the manor, says the Clifford family. Unfortunately there are no more records from that time, so it is without evidence. (07×06: The Straw Woman)


Brother Jozef is executed (boiled to death in beer) for poisoning Causton Abbey’s beer. (20×01: The Ghost of Causton Abbey)



1603-1714: Stuart


Cecil Hartley, 3rd Baron Bantling was famous Catholic and was involved in the Gunpowder Plot. (08×05: Bantling Boy)

Sometime between 1642 and 1651 (Civil War)

The Fitzroy family owning Bledlow Village is a Catholic family with, among other things, priest holes in the building to celebrate Catholic Mass in secret. (11×02: Blood Wedding)


From 14 March, the neighbouring villages of Upper Warden in the valley and Lower Warden on the hill start killing each other, on the occasion of the Civil War. (06×04: A Tale of Two Hamlets)


On 2 July, George, 4th Baron Bantling, is part of the King’s army at the Battle of Marston Moor. But he betrays his side and the King at the battle, which is ultimately lost. It is the first major victory for the Parliamentary Army and the decisive turning point in the Civil War. (08×05: Bantling Boy)

On 1 August, the Battle of Aspern Tallow took place during the Civil War. It ended at 3:30 pm with a Royalist defeat. Among them fought Royalist Jonathan Lowrie (1591-1644), a philanthropist, classical scholar and owner of the manor Aspern Hall. Parliamentarians pursue and chase him home after the battle, shooting him in his house. He is buried on the site, as was his wish. The family legend arises that he is not at peace and lives on as a ghost. (03×04: Beyond the Grave)


Geoffrey DeQuetteville (1605-1645) is a loyalist in the Civil War and dies at the Battle of Naseby by charging cannons. The Battle of Naseby is lost for the Royalists. (15×01: The Dark Rider)


In Midsomer Worthy, a woman, Mary Bloxham, is burnt as a witch. She is accused of trying to kill her neighbour with the “devil’s weed” – is valerian, which grows in abundance in neighbouring Setwall Wood. (05×02: A Worm in a Bud)

17th century

There was an outbreak of swine fever in Midsomer Parva. The villagers tried to contain the epidemic with prayers, but were unsuccessful. Some women are able to nurse pigs back to health by using herbal remedies, but the women are tried for witchcraft and hanged from the old oak tree. The first of them is named Katherine Malpas. (07×06: The Straw Woman)

Also in Midsomer Parva, Deacon Henry of Causton writes the Midsomer Chronicle (“in 16 summat”) (12×03: Secrets and Spies)


1714-1837: Georgian


The landscape painter Henry Hogson is born. (12×02: The Black Book)

Sometime between 1775 and 1783 (War of Independence)

Thomas, 4th Baron of Bantling, was born in England and enlisted in the English army. During the War of Independence, however, he either switching side, or was a collaborator – in any case he fought on the side of the English colonies in America. (08×05: Bantling Boy)


Maybe Henry Hogson depicts a painting of Bishop John Fletcher fly-fishing in Bishop’s Drift, despite his arthritis. (12×02: The Black Book) (Note: It is not entirely clear whether it exists in the original and additionally exists as a forgery or whether the original was never painted.)


Just a rumour? Margaret Peat from Midsomer Newton hanged herself from a beam in the kitchen. (09×01: The House in the Woods)

End of the 18th century

The ceiling collapses during canal construction work at Midsomer Worthy and buried eight workers. In order not to run out of time and go bankrupt, a Mr. Haslett decided, in the interests of his investors, to leave the eight dead in situ and merely had a retaining wall put in. This allowed the excavation work to continue on the very next day. (07×01: The Green Man)


On 2 May 1801 it is recorded in the minutes of the Midsomer Canal Company that £ 12 11 shilling 9 pence are paid to blacksmith Thomas Edwards „in discharge of his bill for iron work to the wheelbarrows, for the use of in the said navigation“. This entry is presumably related to the collapsed part of the Midsomer Canal at Midsomer Worthy. End of the 18th Century. (07×01: The Green Man)

Jane Austen travels through Whitcombe Grange. (19×05: Death by Persuasion)


Sir Hugo Melmoth is murdered on 23rd June by residents of Midsomer Oaks. Just as Sir Hugo had some disagreeable people murdered under the guise of a pagan ceremony. (17×02: Murder by Magic)


The landscape painter Henry Hogson dies. (12×02: The Black Book)


1837-1901: Victorian

Sometime between 1837 and 1901 (Victorian Age)

One of the railways in Midsomer County ran close to the Keys’ cottage at Fletcher’s Cross, just beyond some trees. (08×01: Things That Go Bump in the Night)


Albert Plummer returns from India to Little Upton, not with the fortune he had planned, but with a recipe for an excellent relish. He had eaten it in India and managed to recreate it. This became – with some changes – Plummer’s Relish. Why he was in India is not mentioned. I suspect, given the time, that he probably took part in the Second Anglo-Sikh War 1848-1849.  (08×07: Sauce for the Goose)


In Midsomer Wellow, the well at the church is shut down after the body of vicar Jonathan Ebbrell is found in it. He was murdered by local bell ringers because he forced them to attend church services and had their beer barrel removed from their room. The bell ringers were not convicted, however, because the people of Midsomer Wellow formed a wall of silence. (05×03:  Ring Out Your Dead)

The famous duel between the British boxer Sayers and the US boxer Heenan takes place on the grounds of Morchard Manor in Midsomer Morchard. It ends in a hullabaloo. (13×06: The Noble Art)


Ellis Bell (“The House of Satan”) is born out of wedlock in Lower Warden. His mother worked in the big house in Upper Warden and was seduced by the son of the house. The Smythe-Websters denied paternity but helped young Ellis Bell get a job as a teacher.(06×04: A Tale of Two Hamlet)


On 25 June, twenty-year-old Carolina Maria Roberts, suffering from tuberculosis, commits suicide by throwing herself from the staircase at St. Fidelis Hospital in Midsomer Magna. “NOT DEAD BUT SLEEPTH” is written on her gravestone. (13×04: The Silent Land)


The dangerous Horn Dance (actually a fight between men wearing deer antlers) in Midsomer Abbas develops into an amusing, bloodless dance. (14×06: The Night of the Stag)


Reverend Stannington from Bishopwood becomes World Chess Champion 1893/1894 (15×05: The Sicilian Defence)


Reverend Stannington from Bishopwood dies as reigning World Chess Champion. (15×05: The Sicilian Defense)


Ellis Bell’s „The House of Satan“is published for the first time. (06×04: A Tale of Two Hamlet)


1901-1914: Edwardian


Just a rumour: The author Baroness Emma Orczy is a guest of Lord Fitzgibbon at Midsomer Magna Manor when she is writing her stage play (and later novel) “The Scarlet Pimpernel”. Lord Fitzgibbon was supposedly the model for her main character and hero, Sir Percy Blakeney. (10×07: They Seek Him Here)


1914-1945: Modern 1


In the month-long Battle of the Somme, numerous people from Midsomer County take part, 15 privates from Midsomer Parva alone. Among them is Thomas “Tommy” Hicks, who left the battlefield wounded on the disastrously devastating first day of battle (July 1st). He is found guilty in the Courts Martial trial as a deserter and sentenced to die. He is shot by his friend Douglas “Dougie” Hammond (after the firing squad failed to hit him).
The other war dead from Midsomer Parva are: Burton Black, Arthur Brown, Harold Brown, Charles Gordon, Shirley Gordon, Chancey Jenkins, Harry Knight, Claud Lockhart, Layton Long, Donald Miller, Arthur Miller, Robert Moore, Vaughn Park and Claud Parsons. (11×01 Shot at Dawn)

In Broughton raises Montague Marwood, a big local landowner, an entire company from the village in this year, during World War 1. Numerous families lose their head of household and now have not enough to survive. Some women form the Skimmington Society as a self-help group to work together, educate and raise money. (09×05: Four Funerals and a Wedding)


Sir Huntley Empson found the amateur theatre company Midsomer Mummers and had the mill in Brattlington converted into a stage for his productions. (22×05: For Death Prepare)

Before 1930

Foundation of Midsomer Priory in Midsomer Vertue. In 1930 Mother Jerome’s great aunt was prioress. (14×07: A Sacred Trust)


Lower Warden’s Ellis Bell, author of “The House of Satan” dies in poverty in Causton. (06×04: A Tale of Two Hamlet)


Tom Stanton, a local landowner and keen amateur astronomer, has the Astrodome built in Midsomer Stanton. (15×03: Written in the Stars)


ATA pilot Ellie Wingate from Finchmere commits suicide out of lovesickness and flies off despite a storm warning. She never returns. (16×04: The Flying Club)


Ralph Wood was a bomber fighter pilot at Cooper’s Cross and never returns from a mission in this year. (10×01: Dance with the Dead)

The village of Little Auburn becomes an army base for World War 2. The inhabitants found Great Auburn in the neighbourhood. (19×01: The Village That Rose from the Dead)


Since 1945: Modern 2

Post-war era / Second half of the 20th century

Midsomer Devington’s public boys’ school, Devington Hall, has been hoarding numerous artefacts of immeasurable value from all over the world for decades. Members of the school’s elevated Pudding Club often became diplomats and were thus able to steal the exhibits and bring them to the school. This happened, for example, during the Vietnam War (1955-1975) or the war in Afghanistan (1979-1989). (05×04 Murder on St Malley’s Day)


Isobel Hewitt from Midsomer Malham is a racing driver and wins a prize at Silverstone (06×01: A Talent for Life)

In July in the 1950s, Duncan Palmer from Midsomer County wins the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. (14×01: Death in the Slow Lane) (Note: It is also possible that it was a previous Formula 1 race, but not after. Palmer died in 1962 and neither 1961 nor 1962 was the British Grand Prix held at Silverstone. Alternative years would be 1958, 1956 or between 1951 and 1954, as these were the years when both the races were held at Silverstone and Stirling Moss was active).


On August 15, a fire breaks out at Marwood Manor in Broughton. Almost all the inhabitants of the house die: Richard Henry Marwood, Elizabeth Ann Marwood, Montagu Henry Marwood, Catherine Elizabeth Marwood, Henry Edward Marwood, Elizabeth Marwood, Frederick Hastings, Dorothy Sairfield, Harold Sairfield and the two children George Richard Marwood and Henry Marwood. (09×05: Four Funerals and a Wedding)


Bertie Morell founds an artist community in Midsomer Parva. Shortly afterwards he dies (“drank himself to death”). (14×02: Dark Secrets)


A group of locals entered Little Auburn to protest against the army’s continued occupation of the village. They stayed for a few days before being arrested, fined and shackled. Among them were Fred Messenger and Sylvia Lennard. (19×01: The Village That Rose from the Dead)

Formula 1 racing driver Duncan Palmer from Midsomer County is murdered in a barn near Midsomer-in-the-marsh. (14×01: Death in the Slow Lane)


Arnold Simms founds the School of Art. (12×02: The Black Book)


Stella Harris is a star actress in well-known horror films and from Midsomer Langley. She made her debut in 1967 with “A Thirst for Blood”. She almost made it to Hollywood after “Death and the Divas”, but in the end her sister Diana Davenport took the role because director Cy Davenport fell in love with her (later married) and Stella Harris was written off. Around this time Diana became pregnant unintentionally and unmarried. Stella and Diana’s mother was very concerned about family reputation and decided that Stella, who was already married, should register Emma, born in April 1970, as her child. As a result, Stella Harris’ career as an actress was over, but Diana Davenport’s was just beginning. (15×04: Death and the Divas)

Late 1960s/1970s

Germaine Troguhton from Lower Pampling is captain of the England Ladies Cricket Team. (19×03: Last Man Out)


Felix Bryce of Badger’s Drift died while playing with other children: He is standing on a chair with a rope around his neck and tied to a branch. He loses his balance, the chair tips over – Felix hangs himself. His mother, Jennifer, died of depression nine months later. (02×01: Death‘s Shadow)


Malcolm Frazer, Nicky Frazer, Jenny Frazer (birth name not known) and Jimmy Wells from the British secret service help refugees to get from East Berlin to West Berlin. Jimmy Wells, however, is betrayed by Nicky Frazer and arrested by the Stasi. Nicky Frazer marries Jenny, who was actually a couple with Jimmy. Later, Jenny Frazer and Jimmy Wells learn of the betrayal, noted in the Wolfman file. (12×03: Secrets and Spies)


The famous singer Joan Alder (“Midsomer Rhapsody”) from Badger’s Drift dies in a car accident, presumably from an overdose of antidepressants and too much alcohol. (08×08: Midsomer Rhapsody)


Folk musician Johnny Carver from Lower Crosby is shot while recording his song “The Ballad of Midsomer County”. (17×03: The Ballad of Midsomer County)

Eva Hoffmann, Joan Chaplin and Judith Albiston are stripped, raped and strangled with a necktie in Strangler’s Wood in Midsomer Worthy. (02×02: Strangler’s Wood)

Also in 1990, but in an accident in Fletcher’s Cross, Matthew Draper is killed in an accidental explosion at a quarry owned by Robert Cavendish (02×03: Dead Man’s Eleven)


72 years after the residents were forced to leave Little Auburn and it was used as an army base, the village is now being returned to the family of the then landowner, Roderick Craven. (19×01: The Village That Rose from the Dead)



Midsomer Murders & History: Still running

Since the series – thank God – continues to be filmed, this page will also be updated. In future, I will stick to the free TV broadcasts in the UK, i.e. on ITV. (I may already know a few more episodes myself, depending on how they are broadcasted in Germany. So if you already know more episodes via Acorn and have any questions, feel free to get in touch, but bear in mind that Acorn is also usually ahead of the series’ broadcast in Germany. Please don’t spoil me more than you have to.)


More dates – especially murders – from 1997 onwards will be added. For this I still need a good concept of which events to mention in a county chronology and which not. You could choose local celebrities and particularly bizarre murders – but at what point is someone a local celebrity? And when is a murder particularly bizarre? I’m afraid we all answer these questions differently. And that’s why I need a guideline.
(I have a probable complete list of all deaths until 2022, not only murders. If you want to know who died in year X or how many murders there were between A and B – feel free to ask me, I can look it up quickly through my database. Contact)


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