January 2014 | Nate Pedersen

Jamaica Inn On Sale for £2m

You may never have a chance to purchase Menabilly - Daphne Du Maurier's famous estate and the inspiration for Manderley in the Gothic classic Rebecca - but you now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase the original Jamaica Inn.  All you need is two million pounds. A desire to eek out a living as a remote innkeeper might help a bit too.


That's right, the Jamaica Inn, in operation since 1750 and dramatically situated on the windswept moors of Cornwall - is up for sale. Du Maurier stumbled across the Inn by chance in 1930 when she was wandering the moors alone on horseback after becoming lost in a thick fog.  Shaken by her ordeal, Du Maurier holed up for a few days at the Inn, where the local rector regaled her with colorful ghost stories. The rector - who inspired the Vicar character in the novel - also introduced Du Maurier to the rich history of smuggling in the region.

The remote location, howling winds and eerie local stories were a heady mix for the young writer. Six years later, she published Jamaica Inn, which brought all of these ingredients together into a Gothic masterpiece.

The inn was originally built in 1750 as a coaching inn, a place for changing horses on stagecoach runs over the Bodmin moor. It was expanded in 1778 and soon became a local smuggling haven, a veritable den of thieves, where contraband could be safely and secretly stored. By the early 19th century, the Cornwall coast was practically crawling with smugglers, importing items such as Jamaican rum (a possible inspiration for the Inn's name), brandy, and tea. Worst of the smugglers were the crews of wreckers who would lure ships into dangerous territory to run them aground, before killing the sailors and stealing the cargo. A gang of such wreckers features prominently in Du Maurier's novel.

Perhaps predictably, the Jamaica Inn is listed as one of the most haunted places in Britain.

A BBC adaptation of the novel is set for later this year.

In the meantime, if you'd like to purchase the Inn, you can make inquiries on the Inn's website.

[Image from Wikipedia]