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Pubs in Cornwall with literary connections

Tucked away in quiet corners of Cornwall are some unlikely places which some of the great authors of the 19th and 20th century took inspiration from.
Tucked away in quiet corners of Cornwall are some unlikely places which authors of the 19th and 20th century took inspiration from. The historic limitations and inconveniences of travel to this far-flung southwest county meant that Cornwall has less famous connections with literature than Devon, but nonetheless it offers some fascinating pubs and places to visit with literary connections.

Jamaica Inn, Bolventor

Daphne du Maurier was born to a well-connected family in London but fell in love with Cornwall and spent much of her life near Par. She discovered the Jamaica Inn, later immortalized in the novel of the same name, when on a riding holiday on Bodmin Moor and she sought lodging at the historic inn for the night.

A less well-known connection with literature is that the Jamaica Inn was bought by writer Alistair Maclean in 1964 and for a time the inn was run by his brother. It is still a lonely beacon on Bodmin Moor, providing food and shelter to travellers on the A30 between Launceston and Bodmin.

Ship Inn, East Looe

The charming old fishing port of Looe is home to the delightful Ship Inn which serves up St Austell Ales in a jovial atmosphere to a mix of local regulars and curious tourists. Author Wilkie Collins stumbled upon the inn in 1850 when he was on a walking holiday with his friend Harry Brandling. In fact they walked 234 miles, much of it on the South West Coast Path, and the Ship Inn was one of his favourite overnight stops.

Collins wrote about the area in his travelogue Rambles Beyond Railways noting in Looe that “There is no such thing as a straight street in the place!” He was also known for his detective novels The Moonstone and The Woman in White.

Tinners’ Arms, Zennor

Built in 1271 to accommodate the masons that were building St Senara’s Church, this lovely pub is the only one in the village of Zennor. It is close to the coastal path and has a small cobbled beer garden, stone flagged floors and low ceilings inside. It attracted D.H. Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, in 1916. They stayed at the inn before moving to a small cottage nearby while Lawrence completed his epic novel Women in Love. Fellow writer Katherine Mansfield and her publisher husband John Middleton Murry also spent time in Zennor, no doubt frequenting the old Tinners’ Arms.

The Watermill Inn, Lelant

The Watermill Inn on the Old Coach Road in Lelant is popular with locals for its good beer and award-winning restaurant, which holds the CHEFS Gold award for healthy eating.

Built in the 1700s, it would have been a historic inn even when best selling author was born in the village in 1924. She began writing when she was just seven and went on to write many romantic novels and family sagas including The Shell Seekers which beautifully captures family life in Cornwall.

Enjoy these pubs and the books which vividly capture the beauty of Cornwall, the local characters and the historic inns.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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