Midsomer’s History by Episodes

You don’t want a chronological overview, but in the order of the series?

No problem, here it is.

 

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

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.

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.

More: Midsomer’s History in chronological order

 

 

Series 1

01×01 Written in Blood

1795/1796: Sebastian Lyddiard from Midsomer Worthy and great-grandson of Herbert Lyddiard, served under Sir John Jervis, 1. Earl of St. Vincent, admiral of the Royal Navy, against Napoleon. (01×01 Written In Blood)

Series 2

02×01: Death‘s Shadow

1969: 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.

02×02: Strangler’s Wood

1990: Eva Hoffmann, Joan Chaplin and Judith Albiston are stripped, raped and strangled with a necktie in Strangler’s Wood in Midsomer Worthy.

02×03: Dead Man’s Eleven

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.
Deep Dive: Public Footpaths

1990: In Fletcher’s Cross, Matthew Draper is killed in an accidental explosion at a quarry owned by Robert Cavendish.

 

Series 3

03×03: Judgement Day

Sometime between the 5th and the 7th century (Anglo-Saxons): There was a Saxon burial ground where is now the village green of Midsomer Mallow.
Deep Dive: The Fisher King in Midsomer County

03×04: Beyond the Grave

1644: 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.
Deep Dive: The Civil War, pt. 1

 

Series 4

04×01: Garden of Death

Sometime between 1536 and 1541: The Inkpens obtain a formerly clerical property in Midsomer Deverell, becomes “Inkpen Manor”.
Deep Dive: The Dissolution of the Monasteries in Midsomer Murders

 

Series 5

05×01: Market for Murder

c. 1500: The Chetwoods have been living in Chetwood Estate for some time, now the roof starts to leak (and still is 500 years later)

05×02: A Worm in a Bud

c. 1500: The Bartletts become farmers in Midsomer Worthy.

Sometime between 1536 and 1541: Abbey Farm in Midsomer Worthy was a part of Midsomer Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

1652: 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.

05×03:  Ring Out Your Dead

1633: An illustration shows that brass rubbing is practised in Midsomer Wellow, i.e. the tracing of an uneven surface, for example a metal plate. 

1860: 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.

1939-1945: Reggie Barton from Midsomer Wellow is a pilot in the Second World War and flies Lancaster aeroplanes. 

05×04 Murder on St Malley’s Day

In the second half of the 20th century: Midsomer Parva’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).
Deep Dive: Treasures & Raiders in Midsomer County

At the beginning of November in 1963, two weeks before Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated John F. Kennedy, he was in Midsomer Parva. Dudley Carew had documentary proof of this.

 

Series 6

06×01: A Talent for Life

1950s: Isobel Hewitt from Midsomer Malham is a racing driver and wins a prize at Silverstone.
Deep Dive: Sports History in Midsomer, pt. 2: Other Sports

06×04: A Tale of Two Hamlets

About 1000: The Smythe-Websters are given their estate in Upper Warden.

1643: 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.
Deep Dive: The Civil War, pt. 1

1867: 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.

1897: Ellis Bell’s „The House of Satan“is published for the first time. It is an “old-fashioned socialist novel”. The title, The House of Satan, refers to the Smythe-Webster family.

1930: Lower Warden’s Ellis Bell, author of “The House of Satan” dies in poverty in Causton.

 

Series 7

07×01: The Green Man

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, 38-year-old engineer John Haslett decides, 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. This was all forgotten by the time he received his knighthood.
The newspaper “Midsomer Journal” accused John Haslett of putting his own interests before human lives and reported:
Local Canal in Tunnel Collapse. Eight men still missing. Yesterday afternoon at approximately 3.30 pm a collapsed in the Midsomer canal happened, devastating locals and fellow workers. It is believed workers are still missing and friends and family fear the worst. The engineer Sir John Haslett has called the search off believing the workers would all be dead due the size of the cane in. Angered locals are up in arms over the decision and have called for further searches. A service for the bereaved has hastily arranged in respect in respect conducted by the local vicar, angering friends and family further. [… That’s all you can read in the scene]“

1801: On 2 May 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.

07×02: Bad Tidings

1086/87: Chainey’s Field in Midsomer Mallow is mentioned as common land in Domesday Book.
Deep Dive: Domesday in Midsomer

07×03: The Fisher King

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.
Deep Dive: The Fisher King in Midsomer County

1970: On Roger Heldman’s estate, local archaeologist Paul Heartley-Reade and archaeologist Dr James Lavery from the Ashmolean Museum find a Celtic grave – the grave of Midsomer’s Fisher King. Landowner and multiple rapist Roger Heldman is murdered here. The Celtic artefacts are recovered and recorded in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford with the location Suffolk. Shortly afterwards, Paul Heartley-Reade fakes his own death.

07×06: The Straw Woman

Sometime between 1536 and 1541 (Dissolution of Monasteries): 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.
Deep Dive: The Dissolution of the Monasteries in Midsomer Murders

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.

 

Series 8

08×01: Things That Go Bump in the Night

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.
Deep Dive: Midsomer’s Old Railways

08×04: Bantling Boy

C.1500: The Catholic Hartley family come into possession of Bantling Hall. 

1605: Cecil Hartley, 3rd Baron Bantling was famous Catholic and was involved in the Gunpowder Plot.
Deep Dive: “Involved in the Gunpowder Plot.”

Sometime between 1642 and 1651 (Civil War): The Bantling family of Bantling Hall is a Catholic family in Midsomer County with, among other things, a priest hole in the building to celebrate Catholic Mass during this time in secret.
Deep Dive: The Civil War, pt. 2

1644: 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.
Deep Dive: The Civil War, pt. 1

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.
Deep Dive: A traitor from Midsomer in the American Independence War?

08×07: Sauce for the Goose

1851: 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.
Deep Dive: Albert Plummer in India

08×08: Midsomer Rhapsody

1985: 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.

 

Series 9

09×01: The House in the Woods

1795: Just a rumour? Margaret Peat from Midsomer Newton hanged herself from a beam in the kitchen, the Fluxs tell.

09×05: Four Funerals and a Wedding

1916: 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. (No battle is mentioned, but it is not unlikely that they also fought in the Battle of the Somme.) Some women form the Skimmington Society as a self-help group to work together, educate and raise money.
Deep Dive: The Widows of World War 1

1960: 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.

 

Series 10

10×01: Dance with the Dead

1944: Ralph Wood was a bomber fighter pilot at Cooper’s Cross and never returns from a mission in this year.

10×06: Picture of Innocence

1930: The Annual Exhibition of the Luxton Deeping Photographic Society takes place for the first time. It was previously founded by Casper Madrigal.

10×07: They Seek Him Here

1905: 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.
Deep Dive: Jane Austen & Baroness Orczy in Midsomer County

 

Series 11

11×01 Shot at Dawn

1916: 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.
Deep Dive: Midsomer and the Battle of the Somme

11×02: Blood Wedding

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.
Deep Dive: The Civil War, pt. 2

11×05: The Magician’s Nephew

1526: A monk working for the Inquisition writes a letter telling that he owns part of the Tyndale Bible. (Note: it is not explicitly stated that this monk lived in Midsomer County, but his letter is found in a library there.)
Deep Dive: William Tyndale

11×07: Talking to the dead

Sometime between 1536 and 1541 (Dissolution of Monasteries: The abbey at Monks Barton 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 Monks Barton Wood.
Deep Dive: The Dissolution of the Monasteries in Midsomer Murders

 

Series 12

12×02: The Black Book

1742: The landscape painter Henry Hogson is born.

1792: 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.)

1810: The landscape painter Henry Hogson dies.

1963: Arnold Simms founds the School of Art.

12×03: Secrets and Spies

17th century: In Midsomer Parva, Deacon Henry of Causton writes the Midsomer Chronicle (“in 16 summat”)

1982: 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.

12×04: The Glitch

Deep Dive: St Frideswide

Before 43 BC (Celts): The Celts have a shrine at Midsomer Sanctae where St Frideswide Abbey is later built.

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.

Sometime between 1536 and 1541 (Dissolution of Monasteries): The Abbey of St Frideswide in Midsomer Sanctae is dissolved. It is no longer used and falls into ruin.

 

Series 13

13×01: The Sword of Guillaume

1066: 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.
Deep Dive: The Sword of Guillaume

13×04: The Silent Land

1875: 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 March Magna. “NOT DEAD BUT SLEEPTH” is written on her gravestone.
Deep Dive: Not Dead But Sleepth

13×06: The Noble Art

1860: 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.
Deep Dive: Sports History in Midsomer, pt. 1: Boxing

 

 

Series 14

14×01: Death in the Slow Lane

In July in the 1950s: Duncan Palmer from Midsomer County wins the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. (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).
Deep Dive: Sports History in Midsomer, pt. 2: Other Sports

1962: Formula 1 racing driver Duncan Palmer from Midsomer County is murdered in a barn near Midsomer-in-the-marsh.

14×02: Dark Secrets

1914/1918: Frank Bingham sold cheap, inferior food to the Ministry of Defence during WW1 and did very well for himself. He set up a huge trust fund for his new fortune. A trust fund that will run out as soon as William and Mary Bingham are dead.

1960s: Bertie Morell founds an artist community in Midsomer Parva. Shortly afterwards he dies (“drank himself to death”).

14×05: The Sleeper Under the Hill

Sometime between the 5th and the 7th century (Anglo-Saxons): A battle between Norsemen (Vikings) and Saxons takes place at Gorse Meadow in Midsomer Mow – the Battle of Hallows Beck. The Saxons were victorious.
Deep Dive: Treasures & Raiders in Midsomer County

14×06: The Night of the Stag

Deep Dive: The Dantean Anomaly (and briefly into edict and horn dance)

669: 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!

1370: 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.

1880s: The dangerous Horn Dance (actually a fight between men wearing deer antlers) in Midsomer Abbas develops into an amusing, bloodless dance.

14×07: A Sacred Trust

Before 1930: Foundation of Midsomer Priory in Midsomer Vertue. In 1930 Mother Jerome’s great aunt was prioress.

 

Series 15

15×01: The Dark Rider

1645: 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.
Deep Dive: The Civil War, pt. 2

15×03: Written in the Stars

1936: Tom Stanton, a local landowner and keen amateur astronomer, has the Astrodome built in Midsomer Stanton.

15×04: Death and the Divas

1967-1970: 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.

15×05: The Sicilian Defence

1893: Reverend Stannington from Bishopwood becomes World Chess Champion 1893/1894.

1894: Reverend Stannington from Bishopwood dies as reigning World Chess Champion.
Deep Dive: Sports History in Midsomer, pt. 2: Other Sports

 

Series 16

16×02: Let Us Prey

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.

16×03: Wild Harvest

Late 1960s: Elizabeth „Lizzy“/„Beth“ Thornfield from Midsomer Wyvern is a popular British model and Glamour Girl.

16×04: The Flying Club

1942: ATA pilot Ellie Wingate from Finchmere commits suicide out of lovesickness and flies off despite a storm warning. She never returns.
Deep Dive: ATA – Anything To Anywhere

 

Series 17

17×02: Murder by Magic

1802: 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.

17×03: The Ballad of Midsomer County

1990: Folk musician Johnny Carver from Lower Crosby is shot while recording his song “The Ballad of Midsomer County”.

17×04: A Vintage Murder

Sometime between 43 BC and the 5th century (Romans): In Midsomer Vinae the Romans grow wine.
Deep Dive: Roman Vineyards

 

Series 18

18×05: Sinners and Saints

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.
Deep Dive: Treasures & Raiders in Midsomer County

 

Series 19

19×01: The Village That Rose from the Dead
Deep Dive: Ghost Villages in World War 2

1944: The village of Little Auburn becomes an army base for World War 2. The inhabitants found Great Auburn in the neighbourhood.

1962: 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.

2016: 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.

19×03: Last Man Out

Late 1960s/1970s: Germaine Troughton from Lower Pampling is captain of the England Ladies Cricket Team.
Deep Dive: Sports History in Midsomer, pt. 2: Other Sports

19×05: Death by Persuasion

1801: Jane Austen travels through Whitcombe Grange.
Deep Dive: Jane Austen & Baroness Orczy in Midsomer County

 

Series 20

20×01: The Ghost of Causton Abbey

1539: Brother Jozef is executed (boiled to death in beer) for poisoning Causton Abbey’s beer.

 

Series 22

22×05: For Death Prepare

1923: Sir Huntley Empson found the amateur theatre company Midsomer Mummers and had the mill in Brattlington converted into a stage for his productions.
Gilbert & Sullivan: Pirates of Penzance and Midsomer

 

 

 

Note:
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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