Season 02

  • Midsomer Murders History Header Public Footpaths

    Public Footpaths


    (Caution: Contains spoilers for Episodes: 02×03: Dead Man’s Eleven, 09×02: Dead Letters, 13×01: The Sword of Guillaume, and 14×04: The Oblong Murders)

     

    The Barnaby family are looking for a new place to live in Fletcher’s Cross and have a bite to eat in the Queen’s Arms, outside, in the garden. As they leave the pub, they are approached by Zelda Frasier. She is collecting signatures for the petition of the Fletcher’s Cross Ramblers Association, who are fighting for the right of way through Robert Cavendish’s estate. It’s a public footpath, but the landlord has blocked off part of it without permission.

    Nothing that would only happen recently or only in Midsomer. A little later we learn that green oak branches are a very important symbol of the right of villages to walk in the woods and on public footpaths. This is the basis of the Midsomer Barton Oak Festival.

     

    Rights of way

    „What is a right of way? A right of way is a path that anyone has the legal right to use on foot, and sometimes using other forms of transport.“ (Source: Open Spaces Society)

    The Fletcher’s Cross Ramblers Association is not unique. In fact, there are associations such as the Open Spaces Society (OSS) in Barnaby Land, which works from Henley-on-Thames to ensure that public footpaths remain public. The responsibility for maintaining and recording public rights of way lies with local authorities.

    Public footpaths have often existed for centuries, if not millennia, linking villages to villages and villages to markets or places of worship. Often the age of the path can be determined by the places it connects. Furthermore, a footpath that is well below the present ground level is often an ancient trackway from the Neolithic, Bronze or Iron Ages. They also tend to follow the lie of the land.

    If, on the other hand, the path is not near a wood, but there are bluebells, dog’s mercury, primroses, old trees or stumps, it is a sign that the path dates from the Anglo-Saxon period and that a wood has been cleared.

     

    Munden Estate

    Munden House
    Brian Smith: Munden House. CC BY-SA 2.0.

    The real Cavendish Estate is the Munden Estate in Hertfordshire and, yes, there are indeed 6 mi (10 km) of public footpaths. A third of these are permissive footpaths. They link Aldenham with Bricket Wood and form part of the path between St Albans and Watford, whose histories are intertwined. In the 12th century the Abbot of St Albans was granted a market as lord of the manor. This was the origin of Watford.

    The footpaths that run through the Munden Estate probably date from the same period. By this time there was already a building here called Meriden, which belonged to the Abbey of St Albans until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was first mentioned in 1097 and “it is believed that the estate was acquired by Robert de Meriden and that Munden is a derivation of his name“. Monks might have stopped here on their way to or from Watford.

    The settlement is even older, however, as the remains of a Roman villa have been found here.

    The present house was built in 1795 and has been owned by the Hibbert family since 1828. Listed as a National Heritage Site since 12th August 1985, the manor was the setting not only for Cavendish House. But is was also used for also for Mr Toad’s, er, Freddie Butler’s Haddington Hall (09×03: Vixen’s Run), Edward Milton’s house (13×02: The Made-by-Measure Murder) and Germaine Troughton’s house (19×03: Last Man Out).

     

    Illegal restrictions on public footpaths in other episodes

    Similarly in Midsomer Parva, where the right of way is stopped by Hugh Dalgleish, and the Oblong Society in Midsomer Malham.

    First, Midsomer Parva: We first hear of it in the town hall in Causton, where Hugh Dalgleish, unloved by everyone, has just entered the room. Tom Barnaby is patted vehemently by Lucy Terry, who sits behind him and startles him. She demands to know if the DCI has spoken to Hugh Dalgleish, who, like Cavendish, has no interest in anyone trespassing on his property.

    Tom Barnaby tries to calm and end the situation, clearly not wanting to have this discussion here and now. He points at Ben Jones, who is sitting next to him.

    The issue of the right of way comes up in passing a few times in the episode. And the dispute between Terrys and Dalgleish is only resolved indirectly in the episode, as Hugh Dalgleish is one of the murder victims in the episode. Who inherits his estate is not addressed in the episode.

    And in Midsomer Malham, the bizarrely shady Oblong Society blocks a public footpath through the grounds of Malham Manor. The society has acquired the property through one of its members, Ruth Lambert. Various dog owners still use the path to a certain extent, including dog sitter Millie Bullard, George Bullard’s sister.

    John Barnaby has just come to collect Sykes from his first day with her. They are both standing in the garden watching Sykes run around and mess up the other dogs.

    Literature

     

    Recommend my website or give some feedback

      I would like to point out that this is an unofficial fan site. I am not connected to Bentley Productions, ITV or the actors.

       

       

       

    • In Remembrance in Midsomer County in 2024


      (Caution: Contains spoilers for Episodes: 02×01: Death’s Shadow, 02×02: Strangler’s Wood, 02×03: Dead Man’s Eleven, 02×04 Blood Will Out, 03×01: Death of a Stranger, 11×07: Days of Misrule)

      In 2024, no anniversaries will be celebrated in Midsomer – at least none that end with -25, -50, -75 or -00. But there are a few death anniversaries.

      Note: I’m referring to the year of first broadcast in the UK, unless the date of death on the coffin or something is stated otherwise.

       

      50 years ago

      Mrs Parkes from Calham Cross

      She died giving birth to Jamie.

       

      25 years ago

      Dr. Ian Aycott from ??? (probably in Midsomer County)

      He was knocked unconscious and then burned alive after his clinic was set on fire.

       

      Richard Bayly from Badger’s Drift

      He was decapitated with an Indian sword.

       

      Hector Bridges from Martyr Warren

      He was shot in the chest with his shotgun.

       

      Tara Cavendish from Fletcher’s Cross

      She was bludgeoned to death with a Cricket bat.

       

      Carla Constanza from ??? (in Little Worthy)

      She was picked up in a vehicle, strangled with a necktie, stripped and left in Strangler’s Wood.

       

      Michael Darrow from Upper Marchwood(?)

      After falling into a trench and getting his leg caught in a bear trap, he was clubbed on the head with a tree branch.

       

      Patricia Draper (called herself Patricia Smith) from Fletcher’s Cross

      She accidentally was stabbed in self-defence with a cake knife during a struggle where she was trying to slash the wrists of Robert Cavendish with the same knife after drugging him.

       

      Simon Fletcher from ??? (in Badger’s Drift where he grew up)

      He was shot in the back with an arrow.

       

      Ben Gurdie from Upper Marchwood

      He was shot with his shotgun in the back and the scene was arranged to appear as suicide.

       

      Charles Jennings from Fletcher’s Cross

      He was stabbed in the back with a dagger while changing the Cricket score.

       

      David MacKillop from Aspern Tallow

      He died of unspecified circumstances. His remaining wife is led to believe that he haunts the local museum and former home of Jonathan Lowrie.

       

      Mrs Mortimer, resident at Lawnside in Aspern Tallow („Lawnside Private Residential Nursing Home for the Elderly“)

      She died of natural causes.

       

      Helena Myhill from Mods Mire

      Spoiler - Midsomer Murders 24x02
      She died due to an explosion caused by a gas leak.

       

      Leonard Pike from Little Worthy

      He was stabbed repeatedly in shower with a knife.

       

      Ron Pringle from Upper Marchwood

      He fell from a horse that had been doped at high speed, possibly breaking his head or neck.

       

      Anna Santarosa from Little Worthy

      She was hit by a vehicle and then injected with a fatal dose of liquid nicotine.

       

      John Smith from Martyr Warren

      During a struggle in his trailer he was pushed and hit his head on a basin corner. It’s implied but never confirmed he took the fall for Fleur Bridges.

       

      Grahame Tranter from Upper Marchwood

      He committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree.

       

      Marcia Tranter from Upper Marchwood

      She was shot with a shotgun.

       

      Rev. Stephen Wentworth from Badger’s Drift

      He committed suicide by jumping from the top of the scaffolding surrounding the church.

       

      David Whitely from Badger’s Drift

      He was locked inside his trailer while he was sleeping and burned alive after the trailer was set on fire.

       

      May they all rest in peace.

      +

       

       

      Read more about Midsomer Murders & History

      The Chronology of Midsomer County by Year or by EpisodesDeep Dives into Midsomer & History.

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

       

      Recommend my website or give some feedback

        I would like to point out that this is an unofficial fan site. I am not connected to Bentley Productions, ITV or the actors.