Nether Wallop is listed as number 91 in Bailey’s and Hurst’s Rude Britain. There is also a Middle Wallop and an Over Wallop. The Wallops are quiet and picturesque Hampshire villages, featuring quaint stone cottages with thatched roofs and churches that date back to the Anglo-Saxon period. They are just the kind of village that readers of Agatha Christie might envision St. Mary Mead, Miss Marple’s fictional village, to be like, except that St. Mary Mead might be expected to have more murders per capita. Apparently, that’s what the folks at BBC thought when they filmed their series with Joan Hickson playing Miss Marple, because they chose St. Andrews Church in Nether Wallop as the setting for some of the episodes.
When Laetitia arrived in Nether Wallop, she found that her group consisted mostly of Agatha Christie fans. They visited thousand-year-old St. Andrews, a brick, stone, and flint parish church that features the only sacred Anglo-Saxon wall painting that survived mostly intactin situ. The Normans had little respect for the art of the Saxon period, and the painting was damaged when the church was remodeled during the late Norman period. After a tour of the church, with many in the group praising the beauty of the church and its lovely stained glass windows, they went to the village square and a local home that served as Miss Marple’s house in the television series.
According to Laetitia’s guidebook, the village name was derived from Old English words that translate roughly as the lower part of a valley with a spring. A mind prone to enjoy the slang meanings of words might wonder whether a village with that name would attract “spankophiles.” A story from the bartender that evening, whether true or not, suggested that this might be the case and provided Laetitia with the limerick of the day.
When Elmer went to Nether Wallop
He searched for and found the town trollop
But his bouts with this whore
Left his buttocks so sore
That he had to use salve by the dollop.