Readymoney Cove Beach in Fowey, a favourite spot of Daphne du Maurier

Readymoney Cove Beach in Fowey, a favourite spot of Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier on one of her many walks around Fowey

Daphne du Maurier on one of her many walks around Fowey

Daphne du Maurier's links with Fowey date from the war period when as with the heroine in her novel 'Frenchman's Creek', she brought her children to live in rented accommodation around Readymoney in 1942. Later in 1945 she moved to the huge Menabilly on the Rashleigh Estate near Fowey. This creaking old house was the inspiration for Manderley, the starring house in 'Rebecca', immortalised in film by Hitchcock. Alfred Hitchcock, who knew the du Mauriers well, also adapted her work 'The Birds' onto the screen.

Once quoted as saying writers should be 'read rather than seen', du Maurier shunned the public spotlight believing that success was a very personal thing. Her love of the South Cornwall coast and the Fowey area shines through in her novels and you can find out more about the author's work and time in South Cornwall at the informative Daphne du Maurier Literary Centre with gift shop in the heart of the town centre.

Biography

Du Maurier was particularly encouraged by her father, George du Maurier, who was a wealthy author himself, and a Punch cartoonist, actor-manager and matinee idol. Both her father and husband, a Major later Lieutenant-General, Sir Frederick Browning were key figures in her life, and after Browning's death in the 1960s, du Maurier preferred a quiet reclusive life with her memories. Her youth had been a bright one, with no financial worries and room to travel with friends and write freely, encouraged by her father. The 1930s were certainly a prolific decade, with Jamaica Inn in 1938 and Rebecca in 1939. Du Maurier continued to write into the 1970s, however, and not just fiction but also histories and studies of Cornwall and an obsession with her own ancestors and family tree. She also wrote a biography of her father - 'Gerald a Portrait', and her family in 'The Du Mauriers'.

Her readership was largely women, and she certainly cultivated it, dramatising their fantasies and dreams in novels like 'Rebecca', which she claimed was actually meant as a study of jealousy. Her novels were dark with a Gothic edge and twinge of the Freudian Oedipal with father figure Maxim in 'Rebecca', "I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool". Maurier played with the romantic novel genre, much like Agatha Christie and her early murder mysteries. Both these authoresses produced popular works, yet did something different with their chosen genres.

Literary Festival & Centre

A tour of the Fowey area and coastline is to take in the flavour of du Maurier's novels and experience the landscapes that inspired her. Visit in mid-May to coincide with the annual literature and arts festival which pays due homage to du Maurier and her links to the area. The festival includes a mix of literary entertainment and activities from talks and drama performances to guided walks and concerts. The Daphne du Maurier Literary Centre, adjacent to the 15th Century church of St Fimbarrus which marks the end of the Saints Way, is a must visit for du Maurier fans. The centre also offers detail on other local authors associated with the area including Kenneth Grahame, Leo Walmsley and Sir Arthur Quiller Couch. The centre has a great gift shop well stocked with du Maurier novels and souvenirs.

Daphne du Maurier Links

Accommodation in Fowey

  • Fowey   (0.1 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £260
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    The Tack Room has been refurbished to provide charming accommodation for 2 people and being close to the heart of Fowey is an ideal base from which to explore the local attracti...
     
    Call
  • Penpillick Par   (3.9 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Prices from
    £299
    Per week (seasonal) sleeps 6
     
    Hoseasons Holiday Cottages with beautiful views across the Cornish countryside near St Austell. Online booking available, great discounts
     
    star
    star
    star
    star
    no star
    Self Catering
    Call
  • Polruan   (0.4 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 10
    Prices from
    £930
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 10
     
    A spacious and elegant property quietly positioned in the village of Polruan providing a great place to holiday with friends and family. The mature gardens are a delightful plac...
     
    Call
  • Fowey   (0.1 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £244
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    A cosy apartment, on one level, just a short stroll from the centre of Fowey. Ideally situated on the Esplanade it offers comfortable accommodation for up to 4 people in walking...
     
    Call
  • Fowey   (0.5 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 8
    Prices from
    £585
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 8
     
    Southcliff is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery which surrounds it. With views across the harbour to Readymoney Cove and the coastal path just yards away...
     
    Call
  • Fowey   (0.1 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £496
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
     
    A beautiful property with exceptional views of the harbour from its elevated position. The living area is also upstairs to take advantage of this. Fowey with its individual shop...
     
    Call
  • Fowey   (0.9 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 3
    Prices from
    £240
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 3
     
    Smugglers Loft is part of Kits House which was built in the 1800's and mentioned in a famous historical romance. A bright and cheerful holiday home it is ideally placed for expl...
     
    Call
  • Fowey   (0.9 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 8
    Prices from
    £575
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 8
     
    A comfortably furnished house with stunning views of the river and its own pontoon with moorings if you wish to bring or hire a boat. Built in the 1800's it is close to many sup...
     
    Call
  • Fowey   (0.5 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 7
    Prices from
    £517
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 7
     
    Perched high on a hill overlooking Fowey harbour, this spacious holiday home is just the place to relax and enjoy watching the ever changing activity on the water. In the pretty...
     
    Call
  • Fowey   (1.0 miles from the centre of Fowey)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £192
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    Quietly positioned by the side of the River Fowey, Merrifield is a tranquil holiday home with appeal especially for birdwatchers, people who enjoy messing around in boats and wa...
     
    Call