Beautiful England - photos of England and the UK

Ayot St. Lawrence

Ayot St. Lawrence is a picturesque village, situated a few miles from the suburbs of North London and yet can only be approached by narrow country lanes.

The village's most famous inhabitant, was George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright who wrote 'Pygmalion', on which was based the world famous musical, 'My Fair Lady', as depicted by Julie Andrews on stage and Audrey Hepburn in the film. He lived here in the New Rectory, which he renamed Shaw's Corner', for forty-four years, until his death in 1950, aged 94. He loved this late Victorian house and wrote, 'This home shall be my final earthplace.' His ashes were scattered in the garden. He gave the property to the National Trust in 1944 and visitors can see his study, containing his notebooks and other relics.

In the village, is the gothic ruin of what was Ayot St. Lawrence's parish church from 1150 until the late 18th century. It fell into decay, but money collected to renovate it was used to construct a new one across the fields. It was partly deliberately ruined for romantic effect in the early 19th century.

Opposite the ruined church, there is a Tudor black and white cottage which is next to the Brocket Arms, a 400 year old pub with a vast inglenook fireplace.