Unless you’ve been living under a particularly large and heavy rock, you can’t help but have noticed that there’s a new Bond movie out.
The latest instalment in the franchise, Spectre, is the fourth starring Daniel Craig and looks like being the biggest, and perhaps best, yet (although debates will rage until the end of time about the best Bond).
This major international cinematic event has some close ties to Midsomer country here in South Oxfordshire. That’s because Joyce Grove, home of the Sue Ryder Hospice in Nettlebed, is the family home of Ian Fleming, author and creator of James Bond.
Fleming’s grandfather, Robert, purchased Joyce Grove back in 1903 and tore down the crumbling manor there. He replaced it with the Jacobean style 44-bedroom mansion that still stands today as the hospice.
It’s thought that the young Ian spent most of his childhood summers here and may have even used the house as inspiration for some of the settings in his books. Goldfinger’s house bears a close resemblance, with many sure that this was Fleming’s intention.
The house has, not surprisingly, also been used as a filming location for Midsomer. It doubled up as Bledlow Manor for the 2008 episode Blood Wedding. It was also used for exterior shots of Bletchley Park in the 2013 movie The Imitation Game.
Of course, this is not the only Bond connection in Southern Oxfordshire. Stonor House and Park were used as a filming location for the 1987 Bond film The Living daylights, starring Timothy Dalton as the main man.
The house, located in the Chilterns, has been in the Stonor family since the 12th century and is a frequent filming location for film and television.
This is something that the area knows all about, with numerous hit movies having been filmed here over the years. Perhaps most notably in recent years we have seen shoots for Les Miserables, Brad Pitt’s WWII epic Fury, and many more. There seems to be something about the great estates and countryside here that inspires and appeals to directors and authors.
Joyce Grove was kindly donated to the Sue Ryder foundation by the Fleming family and does great work for the local community. It’s a Grade II listed building of special interest to the UK and just one of the magnificent period properties scattered throughout the South Oxfordshire countryside.