What do Midsomer Murders, The Eagle Has Landed, and Black Sabbath all have in common? The answer is they all have strong connections with the beautiful South Oxfordshire village of Mapledurham.
It was a key filming location for scenes in 1976’s The Eagle Has Landed and yet the owners of the Mapledurham estate only agreed to let filming take place there in return for the village’s watermill being restored. The producers agreed to this demand and the estate’s babbling brook provided a backdrop for the scene of a dramatic rescue of a local girl by a German paratrooper. The watermill was also ‘rescued’; restored to full operating order it is now the only one working on the River Thames.
Even before the rebuild it was a famous point of pilgrimage for rock fans, as it featured on the cover of Black Sabbath’s 1970 debut album. You can also recognise the mill from the Midsomer Murders’ Fisher King episode.
A visit to the nearby Church of St Margaret will show you where the villagers were held hostage in The Eagle Has Landed; a photo exhibition inside the church commemorates the film shoot.
Walk on to 16th century Mapledurham House and you will find the place where Churchill is taken in the movie. More recently, this stately home has played host to the Midsomer Murders cast as they have shot scenes for the new series.
You would think that the house and watermill are just the exclusive preserve of television and film crews, but rest assured the public can visit during summer weekends.