Lost villages

Many of my novels take place in the imaginary towns of Strand and Easthope; there are a few villages, a few other towns nearby, all completely fictitious. However, in my last novel, Radwinter which is a genealogical mystery, the ancestors of the main character Thomas Radwinter, do live in, pass through, visit, are born, are married and die in real places. Now in the sequel Thomas is tracing his maternal line, and there are a family of farmers who live in Cambridgeshire; I know whereabouts they lived, but in order to have the sort of information Thomas would have on census returns and parish registers, I  need to have some actual place names…so I thought I might use the names of villages which once existed many centuries ago but have no vanished and are only remembered in old books and folk-lore… I might change my mind on this but I have been investigating old vanished villages, and come across quite  a few. Some of them have just been subsumed into another nearby village, but some just seem to have been abandoned.

Here’s a list of some I came across:

  • Botolph Bridge
  • Burghley
  • Clopton
  • Colne
  • Eynesbury Hardwick
  • Sawtry Judith
  • Shingay
  • Silverley
  • Stonea Camp
  • Washingley
  • Weald
  • Whitwell
  • Wintringham

I wonder which of these I might use… or maybe none, or maybe amalgamate two to create a totally fictional place!

My ebook Radwinter is available here:



  1. Barbro Donithan

    Hi Lois. 

    My daughter-in-law just finished writing a book and is hoping to get it published.  Once she gets her website, I would love to have her meet you.  Try reaching me at Palismaid@aol.com.  Thank you.  Barbro Donithan


    1. Lois

      How exciting, Barbro! I wish her the very best of luck! I can’t get the link to work… just goes to a blank page. Tried to email and that doesn’t work either!


  2. mariathermann

    I love the village name “Clopton”, you can practically hear the clip-clop of horses’ hooves as a couple of huge Frisians pull a horse and cart in days gone by, when the ancestors of your protagonist were about start their market day…


    1. Lois

      Do you know, I thought exactly the same thing! It’s sad that these villages have disappeared – for whatever reason, sometimes just naturally as it’s engulfed by another village or town, or sometimes as the villagers move away for a better life somewhere else… but sometimes of course when hundreds of years ago plague would wipe out all the people living there. There is also the romantic idea of the empty ghostly village… maybe that should appear in my story? Oh, you’ve given me a whole new idea! Thank you!!


      1. mariathermann

        Glad to have been of service!:) Yeah, a ghost village, I love that idea, something spooky lurking in the well…a wronged young maiden hurled herself down there and poisoned the water for years to come…and the village atmosphere for everybody starts suspecting everybody else of being the “cad” who did her wrong/or did her in.


      2. mariathermann

        Anything with genealogy (I’m bound to have mispelled this pesky word) always awakens my interest and sparks off stories. It’s just so fascinating to think what hidden histories lurk in our grandparent’s old photograph albums and shoe boxes with ancient love letters and documents.


      3. Lois

        Photographs are part of the story I am writing at the moment… there is a picture in a sunny garden of a family, but the mother is looking down as if she wants to hide her face and the littlest daughter is looking to one side as if staring at something which is not very nice!


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