The Vicar of Dibley, which ran from 1994 to 1998, is an award winning comedy series starring Dawn French as the first female vicar of a little village called Dibley. While Dibley is fictional, the filming location of Turville in Buckinghamshire is very much real. Here we take a look at the filming locations of the series and the background to the real village.
Where is the real Dibley?
The fictional village of Dibley is set in Oxfordshire, but Turville is actually just a few miles to the east in Buckinghamshire. 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. It is the epitome of a sleepy English village.
If you would like to see more, I have posted my photos of Turville, the real Dibley, here.
Visiting Dibley – where can I get a good pint?
At the beginning of the lovely village, is the black and white timbered 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 (and has a good range of real English ales).
Short walks from Turville – Ibstone Windmill
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’.
Turville in other TV series
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.