trip through EJO Country
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.
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.
Here are some recent photos of Cleeve
Also visit other sites with Cleeve information