The story developed from the author’s visits to Snowshill Manor where the remains of a model village, showing Wolf’s Cave and Thirwall Manor, can still be seen. When the whole village was assembled, it was so realistic not in photographs it would pass as a real place. John Betjeman wrote an article about it for ‘The Architectural Review’ (1932) allowing his readers to believe that it was a real but little known village in an isolated creation. Only in the final sentences did he reveal the truth.
Sheep still graze peacefully in the fields surrounding the manor house and its unusual village. Doves still frequent the dovecote. Cats wander the gardens, and who knows what lives they lead when the visitors depart?