From Evelyn Waugh to Mark Haddon a number of world-class authors have been inspired by Wiltshire. 

With the country in lockdown visiting different parts of our county is off limits as everyone is being told to stay at home. 

However, that shouldn't stop you from  exploring Wiltshire through literature with one of these top class novels: 

Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

Swindon Advertiser:

Brideshead Castle aka Castle Howard - images Unsplash

Set in the golden pre-war era, Brideshead Revisited captures the disappearance of the dreamy world of privilege.

First published in 1945 the novel follows the life and romances of the protagonist Charles Ryder, most especially his friendship with the Flytes, a wealthy family who live in a palatial mansion called Brideshead Castle in Wiltshire.

The novel delves into the realms of duty and desire set amongst the decadent faded glory of the English aristocracy in the run up to the Second World War. 


It tells the story of Charles Ryder's infatuation with the Marchmains and the rapidly-disappearing world of privilege they inhabit. Enchanted first by Sebastian at Oxford, then by his doomed Catholic family, in particular his remote sister, Julia, Charles comes finally to recognize only his spiritual and social distance from them.​

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon

This multi-award winning novel is narrated in the first-person perspective by Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old boy who describes himself as "a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties" living in Swindon. 

Although Christopher's condition is not stated, the book's blurb refers to Asperger syndrome, high-functioning autism, or savant syndrome.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time follows the story of Christopher Boone, a 15 year old, who is exceptional at Maths but finds people confusing. The play opens with Christopher discovering a dead dog in his neighbour, Mrs Shears', garden. ... He also discovers that it was his father who killed the dog.​

The Eyre Affair, Jasper Fforde

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Thursday Street in Swindon was named after Fforde's protagonist Thursday Next - Image, Google Maps.

Jasper Fforde's debut novel was released in 2001 and takes place in an 'alternative 1985'. 

So taken by the book, Swindon Town Planning Office got in touch with Fforde in 2007 to name some of the town's streets after characters from the novel.

Some of the streets inspired by the book include Thursday Street, Mycroft Road and Havisham Drive.


There is another 1985, where London's criminal gangs have moved into the lucrative literary market, and Thursday Next is on the trail of the new crime wave's MR Big.

Acheron Hades has been kidnapping certain characters from works of fiction and holding them to ransom. Jane Eyre is gone. Missing.

Thursday sets out to find a way into the book to repair the damage. But solving crimes against literature isn't easy when you also have to find time to halt the Crimean War, persuade the man you love to marry you, and figure out who really wrote Shakespeare's plays.

Perhaps today just isn't going to be Thursday's day. Join her on a truly breathtaking adventure, and find out for yourself. Fiction will never be the same again.

The Spire, William Golding

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Image - Unsplash

This 1964 novel by William Golding centres around one man's vision to build an enormous spire on a cathedral with no foundations. 

The story is loosely based on Salisbury Cathedral and the vision of the fictional Dean Jocelin. 


Dean Jocelin has a vision: that God has chosen him to erect a great spire on his cathedral. His mason anxiously advises against it, for the old cathedral was built without foundations. Nevertheless, the spire rises octagon upon octagon, pinnacle by pinnacle, until the stone pillars shriek and the ground beneath it swims. Its shadow falls ever darker on the world below, and on Dean Jocelin in particular.

Have you read any of these Wiltshire based novels? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.