Location, location, location

Palladian Church of Ayot St Lawrence is across a field from Shaw's Corner © Lizzie Dunford

Palladian Church of Ayot St Lawrence is across a field from Shaw's Corner

Shaw's Corner is ideally snuggled in the tiny Hertfordshire village of Ayot St Lawrence. Hidden in the depths of the countryside, though only an hour from the middle of London, this made the village of Ayot St Lawrence ideal for the Shaws.

They could make the most of the peace and quiet of the village, allowing Shaw's creativity to flourish, while also having London on their doorstep to regularly partake in the theatre world.

What's in a name?

There are several suggested meanings for 'ayot': the most logical is that it means a 'gap' or an 'island' and even today, when it rains heavily over the winter and the single-track approach roads flood, it smaintains that feeling.

The village has one ancient pub - the Brocket Arms - two churches and about 50 houses.

With about 150 inhabitants, the village reached its population peak in the mid-19th century. It has seen various famous inhabitants, including Douglas Fairbanks and the golfer Nick Faldo, but when Shaw arrived here in 1906, he was definitely seen as an outsider.

Shaw's take on the village

Shaw wrote that the village was a '12th-century village where the last thing of real importance that had happened was, perhaps, the flood'. His final work A Rhyming Guide to Ayot St Lawrence is illustrated with his own photographs of the houses and sites along the way - it takes the reader along the paths that he walked daily.