Vicar David Pickering has written a state-of-nation novel inspired by the uncertainties people are experiencing over Brexit.

Rev Pickering is the vicar of St John the Baptist Church in Kingston Bagpuize near Abingdon, and also covers the Fyfield and Tubney parish.

Taking a break from writing sermons, the father-of-one, married to Rebecca, has finished his first novel, The Loyal Republic of Mutley Shepwell.

The story is set somewhere in West Oxfordshire but the vicar insists the tale is not based on Kingston Bagpuize itself, or its neighbour village Southmoor.

Rev Pickering, 50, who has declared himself an ‘unrepentant Remainer’, said: “People in the village have been reading the novel to look for connections - to see if the characters in it are based on residents but I have deliberately avoided that – it wouldn’t have been appropriate.

“Mutley Shepwell is a picture postcard Cotswold village – perhaps like Stow-on-the-Wold if no one had discovered it.”

The reverend said he has always been interested in politics but he has tried not to make his story ‘too party political’.

The events of the novel take place at some point in the future, after Britain leaves the European Union.

He added: “I think people are concerned about English identity and how we will redefine ourselves after Brexit.

“In my novel Scotland is planning to leave the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland is leaving and I don’t think that scenario is entirely unlikely.”

The reverend said he believed Britain’s decision to leave the EU stemmed from ‘mistakes made by previous governments’.

There is no overt Christian message in the novel as the vicar wrote the story ‘for any reader not just a religious reader’.

“Religion is a positive force for good for some individuals in the novel – it’s there in the background,” Rev Pickering said.

In the story villagers declare their independence because they feel they have been let down by the establishment and they want to strike a blow for villages everywhere.

Rev Pickering said: “One of the themes is that villages are not respected and that decisions affecting them are being made in London.”

Ordained in 2006, the vicar previously worked as a bookseller for Amazon and as an editor for publishers Dorling Kindersley.

Outlining his own views on Brexit, Rev Pickering, whose son Jonathan, 18, is embarking on a politics degree at Exeter University, said: “I’m a complete unrepentant Remainer.

“I admire the positive values of Europeans sharing, helping each other and working together.

“It’s not just a money thing, not just financial ideals, there is an ideal about cooperation rather than conflict and I think the EU has done a good job on that.

“And we could be more generous about immigration – we are a rich country.

“I think Brexit might now resolve in unexpected ways – Scotland could leave the UK and join the EU – it could be a very different country.

“This has more surprises in it than anyone could possibly have bargained for.”

The Loyal Republic of Mutley Shepwell by David Pickering is on sale on Amazon and in St Andrew’s Bookshop in St Clement’s Street in Oxford, price £7.99.