In my latest novel, Radwinter, Thomas begins his search for his family history by looking at the village of Radwinter, in Essex. This is what he writes about what he finds out:
I thought I’d start with Radwinter village… yes, I know, there are no Radwinter connections, but it just seems odd that our unique name is the same as a place… or maybe it is just a coincidence, or maybe Radwinter is a corruption of something else…
In Radwinter there is the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin and on the history site there are some wonderful photos of the reredos within the church, but it was bought and put there in the 1880’s; the church itself is over seven hundred years old. I’d like to go and visit and see it for myself; I’m not religious but I do like visiting churches… I wonder if Marcus would be interested as he’s a vicar? As well as the church it mentions chapels… are they different? I don’t know much about religion, despite Marcus being a reverend… Primitive Methodists… what are they? Baptists… I really don’t know.
Looking at the history of the village it seems as if it was a busy place at one time… I really would like to go and see what is there now. According to the website there were blacksmiths, and many different shops including two butchers and two bakers… There were sweetie shops, a fish mongers, general stores and even a tobacconist, and many different craftsmen such as cobblers and tailors and lots of other businesses.
No surprise that there are pubs, including the Plough and the Red Lion, and windmills… I guess it was a farming area… Essex, that’s a farming county, isn’t it, and isn’t it by the sea too? I don’t know anything about Essex, apart from it being an overspill area for London, but it can’t all be like that. I’ve never been there… maybe I should look at a map… There were four windmills, it says… definitely a farming community, and a prosperous one too. Didn’t Constable paint pictures in Essex, or have I imagined that?
I’m onto the history page… Neolithic skeleton, bronze Celtic warrior, Roman roads and coins… medieval tile kiln and fishponds… once it was Great Radwinter and Little Radwinter, perhaps that’s me, little Radwinter… 1066, Doomsday, a lord of the manor named Frodo… what? Really? This page also tells me the village is near Saffron Walden and on the road to Haverhill, and on the River Pant… I must look at a map.
Radwinter is available on Amazon as an e-book: