‘The Essex Serpent’ follows Cora Seaborne, a wealthy widow who embarks on a quest to uncover the truth about a mysterious serpent. The series is based on Sarah Perry’s novel of the same name and is adapted for television by Anna Symon. It is a period drama filled with mystery and suspense that takes place in the British countryside village of Aldwinter. Therefore, viewers must be curious to learn more about the exact year when the story unfolds. Likewise, audiences might also wish to find out more about Aldwinter. Therefore, if you are wondering when and where ‘The Essex Serpent’ takes place, here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!
What Year Is The Essex Serpent Set?
‘The Essex Serpent’ unfolds in a Victorian England setting. Many such characteristics of the era — such as worse carriages, lack of cars, and the advancement in the sciences — are evident in the show’s narrative. Since the Victorian era roughly lasted from 1837 to 1901, the series is likely set during this period. However, an exact year is not mentioned by the characters. However, one scene notes that the characters live in the 19th Century. Cora’s remark also hints that the 20th Century is not far away.
Therefore, it is safe to deduce that ‘The Essex Serpent’ is set sometime in the late 19th Century — primarily during the 1890s. The series is an adaptation of Sarah Perry’s novel of the same name. The book states that the story takes place in the year 1893. Therefore, the same is likely to be true for the television adaptation. Nonetheless, the 19th Century setting allows the story to deal with the “science vs. faith” debate of the era.
Is Aldwinter a Real Place?
‘The Essex Serpent’ is set in the titular English county situated between London and the North Sea. The capital city of London is also a setting for some of the show’s events. However, a majority of the narrative unfolds in the village of Aldwinter, which is located near Colchester. The village is a fictional creation by the writer of the original novel, Sarah Perry. Aldwinter is said to be situated near the Blackwater Estuary, which is known for its marshy landmass.
While crafting the story, Perry created the fictional village and also drew a detailed map of the imaginary location. The author drew from some of her favorite real-life places in Essex to create the village of Aldwinter. Before writing the story, Perry visited Essex and absorbed the atmosphere and landscape of the county’s popular spots, such as Mersea island, St Osyth, Clacton, and the Essex RSPB reserve.
Furthermore, since Perry grew up in Essex, she was aware of the county’s culture, which is reflected in the story through Aldwinter. Ultimately, Aldwinter is a fictional place that exists within the works of Sarah Perry. However, the village comes to life due to Perry’s personal attachment to Essex, its culture, and the author’s research. Perry’s Aldwinter lies somewhere between mysticism and reality, making it a befitting setting for the mystery-filled series.