Village amongst the Chiltern Hills
The black and white timbered Bull and Butcher Inn, marks the beginning of this lovely village, nestling in the deep fold of the Turville Valley amongst the Chiltern Hills. The cottages here mostly date back to the sixteenth century and little seems to have changed in this untouched rural part of England.
Setting for The Vicar of Dibley
It is obvious why the timber-framed cottages and the beautiful flint built church of St. Mary The Virgin next to them, were chosen as the setting for the popular television series, ‘The Vicar of Dibley’. Here is the epitome of a sleepy English village. Dawn French, as the replacement female vicar, meets stern resistance to her untraditional approach to religion, but is soon adopted and adored by the congregation. Turville also features in several episodes of the television series, ‘Midsomer Murders’ and the television film drama, ‘Goodnight Mr. Tom’, starring John Thaw. More recently, The Daffyd Thomas scenes in the television comedy, ‘Little Britain’, were filmed here. In 1942, Ealing Studios used Turville as the location for a wartime propaganda film, ‘Went the Day Well‘, in which “Bramley End” (Turville) was occupied by German soldiers. The film featured actresses Patricia Hayes and Thora Hird.
Behind the village, at the top of a high ridge, its sails silhouetted against the sky, is a black-capped windmill. This is another theatrical connection for the village, as this windmill is featured in the film, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’.
The Bull and Butcher Inn
The Bull and Butcher Inn has a long history and an interesting name. The building dates from 1550, but did not become licensed premises until 1617, when workmen, rebuilding the church, refused to continue unless ale and food were supplied to them. The ale house was originally known as, “The Bullen Butcher”, but has been corrupted over the centuries to create a name associated with meat – “The Bull and Butcher”. ‘Bullen’ is derived from Ann Bullen, who became Ann Boleyn at the French Court. The “Butcher” is, of course, Henry VIII, who had his wife beheaded. The Inn is now a listed Grade 2 building.