Jamaica Inn, Cornwall

jamaica inn cornwall

Jamaica Inn was built in the middle of Bodmin Moor, as a staging post for changing horses on the long slog for stagecoaches over the moor. Today the A30 bypasses the inn.

Today Jamaica Inn offers a mixture of pub and museum. It plays both the du Maurier and the haunted cards hard. Characters like Demon Davy, the vicar of Altarnun, and assorted smugglers and ghouls feature in the exhibits

There is a Daphne du Maurier memorial room with various bits of memorabilia, including her Sheraton writing desk, complete with a pack of du Maurier cigarettes named after her father. On a winters night in 1930, writer Daphne du Maurier stayed at Jamaica Inn. The atmosphere of the Inn inspired her to write the novel which was dramatised in 1936 by Alfred Hitchcock and starred Maureen O’Hara and then again in 1982 when it starred Jane Seymour. The storyline itself was inspired from an outing that Daphne and a friend had when they were staying at Jamaica Inn and went riding on Bodmin Moor. They were lost in bad weather and apparently sheltered for some time in a derelict cottage on the moor but were eventually led back to Jamaica Inn by their horses. During that stay at Jamaica Inn Daphne also met and talked to the parson from the nearby church at Altarnun. The story tells the tale of Mary, an orphan who goes to live with her Aunt Patience and Uncle Joss Merlyn, the terrifying landlord of Jamaica Inn and the mystery surrounding her uncle’s business - smuggling along the Cornish coast.

               Daphne du Maurier                                                  smugglers

There is of course a Smugglers Bar


Jamaica Inn was built in 1750, was a coaching inn. In 1778 it was extended to include a coach house, stables and a tack room, which is the building that exists today. Horses on the stage coaches would be changed here.

It is believed that around half of the brandy and a quarter of all tea being smuggled into the UK was landed on the coasts west of here. Jamaica Inn was remote served as a staging post for some of this contraband. The Inn may have well got its name because smuggled rum stopped here.


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