A trip through EJO Country 
Updated 12th January, 2015.

This page is part of COLLECTING BOOKS and MAGAZINES, Blue Mountains, Australia

Elsie Jeanette Oxenham published 87 books and numerous short stories for girls during the first half of last century. Most of them were set in England but a few were set in Wales, Scotland, Switzerland and France. Here are the places in Somerset that we have found so far. We hope you enjoy "visiting" the places you have read about so often.

The locations that appear in RED actually exist.

gracedieu.jpg (7892 bytes)

The "Abbey" as described in the Abbey series is at the foot of the Chiltern Hills on the borders of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire near High Wycombe. Before visiting England in 1983, I re-read all my Abbey books writing down all the references to places, directions (Joy tidied herself before entering the village of West Wycombe on her way to school, so this village must be between the school and the Abbey ETC ). All these references were plotted on a map. This map enabled us to pinpoint the general area (somewhere near Chinnor) but a careful search found no Village, Abbey, Manor or Hall. So after trying in vain to find it I gave up and decided it was completely made up.

Years after that abortive Abbey hunting trip to England I found out it wasn't there at all, but almost stone for stone it does exist. It is based on Cleeve Abbey in Somerset and you can visit it (in real life if you are lucky enough to have a trip to England in mind). Or use these photos to imagine you are there.

These three photos were taken before 1920 so they reflect the Abbey as Elsie would have seen it. She describes the Abbey quite accurately except for the underground "additions" which were purely in Elsie's imagination.

wpe1.jpg (7939 bytes)
Interior  view of the Refectory

Exterior  view of the Refectory

abbey3.jpg (33369 bytes)
The east side of the Cloisters

Here are some recent photos of Cleeve

somrefr.jpg (15932 bytes)
The tresaunt goes through to the cloister garth.

somgarth.jpg (14409 bytes)
The garth from the cloister ruins.


so1.jpg (5246 bytes)
The round sacristy window

so2.jpg (3766 bytes)
The cloisters from the dormitory

so3.jpg (6045 bytes)
The gatehouse from the church


so4.jpg (4188 bytes)
The cloisters and garth

so5.jpg (2101 bytes)
The Abbey from Washford Mill

so6.jpg (3977 bytes)
Cloister windows


somgate2.jpg (8477 bytes)

The gate to the orchard

so7.jpg (3303 bytes)
The warming room

xxxCleeve cloister west.jpeg (7929 bytes)
Cleeve cloister - the west
side of the garth has just
a few remaining walls of
the cloister which once
went right around the
garth, seen from
the refectory windows.

somarch.jpg (9376 bytes)
The cloister ruins from the chapter house.

Also visit other sites with Cleeve information



xxxGlastonbury crypt.jpeg (7324 bytes)
Glastonbury crypt -
Where Nancybell used to
hide when she needed time out.

s_glastonbury.jpg (7805 bytes)
Glastonbury Abbey


so_ferry1.jpg (4430 bytes)

so_ferry2.jpg (3737 bytes)

Four views of the Ferry near Brean Down - Brean Down - Elsa's ferry from Adventure for Two & Elsa Puts things right

so_ferry3.jpg (3821 bytes) so_ferry4.jpg (6623 bytes)


xxrheens.jpg (10935 bytes)
The Somerset levels near King's Dyke -
the rhines Nancy photographed

xxpernel.jpg (9878 bytes)
Right Lighthouse at Burnham-on-Sea
from Pernel Wins

Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire
- Cumbria,Lancashire & Merseyside - Other Counties - Overseas - Scotland - Somerset - Sussex & Surrey - Wales - Yorkshire & Derbyshire

Back to main Abbey page and index of EJO items.

Back to Collecting Books & Magazines.