Places in Haunting Miss Trentwood

I had a lot of fun writing Haunting Miss Trentwood, partially because of all the new online mapping tools of which I took advantage. Right when I was concepting the story, trying to find a location close enough to London that it could be a day (or so) trip for someone in the 1870s by train, but far and small enough away to be considered fairly rural, Google Earth had just come about. Using digital tools, I was able to pretend like I was walking around locations in England that I’ve never actually set foot.

Here are locations either referenced or traveled by the Haunting Miss Trentwood characters.

Compton Beauchamp House

Compton Beauchamp House photo by Rex Harris / Flickr

Pronounced “Comp-TON BEECH-um,” this Baroque-façade house caught my attention while I was scrolling around the English countryside in Google Earth. First built in the 1500s and renovated with the Baroque front in the early 1700s, this house is the inspiration for Mary’s home. It is within walking distance to the Uffington White Horse and Wayland’s Smithy, both historical locations referenced in the book. The actual town of Compton Beauchamp, Swindon is a little hamlet that was originally part of Berkshire at the time of my story, but it was redistricted in the 1970s as part of Oxfordshire.

I will 100% admit that part of the reason why I chose the town is because it’s so small. As of 2001, the census population was 50 people. It truly was shocking when a reporter in the nearby larger town, Graham Carter, found me and gave me a ton of information to help enrich my story.

Read more about my Compton Beauchamp discoveries.

Uffington White Horse

This is a prehistoric hill figure of deep trenches filled with chalk. I think of it as similar to our Native American burial mounds in terms of historical importance, though as far as I know, no one is buried beneath the horse.

Wayland’s Smithy

Wayland’s Smithy photo by Mark Haward / Flickr

About 1.5mile walk from the Uffington White Horse is a small rock enclosure and historical monument named after the Saxon smith-god Wayland. This is a fun little location that Mary often wanders to when she wants to be alone to think… which of course means her father’s ghost is sure to be there to pester her.

As of 2019, this landmark was identified as being a location for Neo-Nazi rituals, so patrols for public safety have increased.