The Campden Wonder
"Time, the great Discoverer of Truth, shall bring to Light this dark and mysterious Business"


Chipping Campden

Chipping Campden is rightly considered one of the most beautiful towns of the Cotswolds, itself without doubt one of the most beautiful districts of England. Situated some 25 miles north-east of the county town of Gloucester, Chipping Campden is located in an isolated corner of the county of Gloucestershire, closer to the Worcestershire town of Evesham and Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon (Warwickshire).

If you're visiting Chipping Campden, why not check out this great Campden Wonder website for some ideas of places to stay and things to do in the area:  


A modern-day map of the Chipping Campden area, including the villages of Ebrington, Paxford and Charringworth mentioned in the story. Although in Harrison's day the roads were probably little more than tracks or country lanes, the modern roads still follow the same route as they did 350 years ago..

A view of Chipping Campden, looking towards the church

A good starting point for learning more about the history of Chipping Campden on the Internet is Allan Taylor's excellent site at, which I have found of considerable benefit during my research.

The definitive work on the history of Chipping Campden is Percy C. Rushen's "History and Antiquities of Chipping Campden".

Chipping Campden is richly endowed with ancient buildings, all constructed of glorious golden Cotswold limestone, but the jewel in the crown is without doubt the parish church of St. James, parts of which date back to the 12th century although most of the building is of 15th century origin.

Approaching the Church, with the Alms Houses on the left and the Lodge and Gateway in the distance on the right.


St. James, Chipping Campden

Looking through the entrance to the churchyard toward the church 

In 1613, Sir Baptist Hicks, first Viscount Campden, built a magnificent palace adjoining the church. Campden House, as it was known, was a wonder of its age, but lasted for a mere 30 years. In the Civil War it was occupied by  Royalist troops, and, when in 1645 these troops were withdrawn, the house burned to the ground in mysterious circumstances.

The Lodge and Gateway, one of the few surviving parts of Campden House

I seems likely from a number of things mentioned in Overbury's account, that Harrison was living in part of the ruined house at the time of his disappearance. There is in existence a depiction of the house as it existed prior to its destruction, dating from the 18th century. Using this plan it is actually possible to make sense of some of Perry's supposed movements on the night Harrison vanished.

Campden House and the layout of the area around its ruins in 1660 is further discussed here.


A small village about a mile south-east of Chipping Campden.


A small village about a mile east of Chipping Campden.


A attractive village about a mile north-east of Chipping Campden and half a mile north west of Charringworth. The parish church, unusually dedicated to the little known St. Eadburgha, is well worth a visit.


Ancient Roman city and county town of Gloucestershire, situated some twenty-five miles south-west of Chipping Campden.


Home of Sir Thomas Overbury, referred to as "Burton" in his correspondence and account of the story.

Broadway Hill

The hill overlooking the town on Broadway, about a mile south-west of Campden, the second highest point in the Cotswolds.


City on the west coast of Turkey (modern-day Izmir).