Christopher Winn

Abbaye Saint-Michel

‘A little corner of England which is for ever France, irreclaimably French.’ That is how the Catholic priest Monsignor Ronald Knox described the Abbaye Saint-Michel (St Michael’s Abbey) in Farnborough, Hampshire. It was founded in 1881 by the Empress Eugénie, widow of the Emperor Napoleon III. When they were forced to leave France following the

The Surrey hills

I live in the oldest village in England. How come? Well, in a field below the big house, there is a Mesolithic pit dwelling dating back some 10,000 years. This is the oldest known man-made dwelling in England — at least according to Dr Louis Leakey, who excavated it and wrote about it in The