Little Purlington
Vital statistics
Location Essex, England
Position Village
Appearances "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman"

Little Purlington was a small village located near Frinton in Essex, England. Dr John Watson visited the village with Josiah Amberley on behalf of Sherlock Holmes to search for clues in "The Adventure of the Retired Colourman".

"The Adventure of the Retired Colourman"

While investigating the disappearance of the wife of Josiah Amberley, Holmes receives a telegram from a man purporting to have important information regarding the case. Holmes informs Watson that the note came from the vicar of Little Purlington, and asks Watson to take Amberley to the village to interview the vicar. At first Amberley refuses to accompany him, saying that the vicar couldn't possibly know anything, but when Holmes tells him it looks very suspicious for him to ignore their best clue he reluctantly agrees to go. Before they leave, Holmes takes Watson aside and asks him to inform him at once if Amberley attempts to flee during their trip.

After an uncomfortable train ride, the pair reach Little Purlington and arrive at the vicarage. They are greeted by the vicar, a pompous and irritable man named J. C. Elman. Elman is shocked to hear that Watson has a telegram for him, and denies ever sending any such message to Holmes. He quickly becomes angry, at first accusing Watson of making joke of him and then denouncing the telegram as a forgery and declaring his attention to go the police. He turns them out.

Watson is dismayed to find that there are no further trains leaving the village that night, and that he will be forced to spend the night there with Amberley. He tries to contact Holmes from the telegraph office, but finds it closed for the day; luckily, he finds a phone at the village inn. Watson and Amberley leave the village the next morning to return to London, with the miserly Amberley complaining at length about the added expense of the hotel bill the entire trip back.

When Holmes reveals that Amberley actually killed his wife, he admits that he sent the telegram as a distraction to get Amberley out of London so he could investigate his house uninterrupted.


Little Purlington was very small and rustic. Watson described it as "the most primitive village in England." The village was connected to London by rail, but only via a branch line. The village had a telegraph office and a small inn called the Railway Arms. The resident vicar served both Little Purlington and the nearby hamlet of Mossmoor, and his vicarage was located two miles outside of the village.

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