The theme of place guides much exploration in rural history and local history. Attempts have been made to create definitions and typologies of place, but these have had to contend with the diverse, complex and dynamic realities of historical pattern and process, local and regional. Nonetheless, historians and those in other disciplines have evolved different approaches to the concept. This study considers how these can inform the investigation of places existing in historical fact in particular periods in the past, and can do similarly for those places located contemporaneously in fictional constructions. Reference is made to various academic writings on place, including by the local historian, David Dymond. The analysis takes the work of the author of fiction, Bernard Samuel Gilbert. Gilbert, although relatively obscure now, incorporated a feature of special note into his later literary output, and one meriting greater attention. This was his personalised, reflective and explicitly articulated approach to forming and expressing place. Moreover, Gilbert’s ‘Old England’, with its imaginary district of 'Bly', can be recognised as corresponding to landscapes and communities existing more broadly in the years up to and through the First World War, and with creations by other authors of regional fiction.