‘A quintessentially British village’ is a definition that you may have stumbled upon quite a few times in the United Kingdom.
Of course, the UK is a relatively small island when compared with other countries on the European continent.
It’s also a very overcrowded place, especially England, where approximately 84% of the 67m inhabitants dwell today and that historically has always been the most populated of the UK countries.
Naturally, such a long and rich tapestry of history concentrated in England means that you are bound to find some pretty old and interesting places to visit quite often.
It helps that in the UK there exists a particular attachment to tradition and conservation: of buildings, ways of life, traditions.
Turville is one of those places that at first sight might not be that attractive, or even interesting, but which at a closer look reveals itself.
There is the small fact that it already existed in 796, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
And yes, many a film and TV series have used and are using Turville as a preferred location. Many episodes of Midsomer Murders, Lewis, Marple and Foyle’s War and, more recently, Killing Eve, were shot in Turville, and the surrounding area, never too far from the Thames, have proven a fertile place for location scouts, producers and film makers.
Cobstone Windmill, overlooking the village from Turville hill but technically in the civil parish of Ibstone, was of course the background for the 1968 musical-fantasy movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and it’s where the spectacularly named Caractacus Potts turned an old racing car into a flying, magical machine for his two children’s amusement.
We visited during a late summer day, clouds flying high above us. What captured my attention was the texture of the buildings, the simple, functional layout of the small village, and of course the silent silhouette of Cobstone Windmill.
A hill deceivingly harmless, that turned out to be quite hard to climb. Of course, nobody of the villagers we met and chatted to told us that Cobstone Windmill itself was a private property, and that there was no obvious or easy way to take a photograph of the windmill.
In the end I decided that black & white was the best way to capture the feel and emotion of Turville, sort of frozen in the past and the simple way of life long gone.
On the way out from the village, it was only natural to stop at the Bull and Butcher, the local pub built in 1550 which takes its name from none other than Ann Boleyn and her husband Henry the VIII.