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Inn sign in 2006

The Jamaica Inn is a free house in Bolventor, on the borders of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. Built as a coaching house in 1750, it is famous for being the base of smugglers in the past and known as the setting for Daphne du Maurier's novel of the same name.[1] The young author was inspired to write her novel when, having gone horseriding on the moors she became lost in thick fog and sought refuge at the inn; whilst recovering from her ordeal the local rector is supposed to have entertained her with ghost stories and tales of smuggling; he would later become the inspiration for the enigmatic character of the Vicar of Altarnun.

The novel was made into the film Jamaica Inn in 1939 by Alfred Hitchcock.

Jamaica Inn2.jpg

It is rumoured to be haunted and has featured in an episode of the British TV programme, Most Haunted, on the TV channel LIVINGtv. Notable apparitions include a malevolent figure of a highwayman in a tri-cornered hat and long green coat, an anguished young mother and her baby and the spirit of a young smuggler who is believed to have been murdered and who has been seen sitting on the wall in the courtyard. Also the whinnying of horses and a metal carriage has reportedly been heard over gravel in the courtyard in the middle of the night but the courtyard is today cobblestoned.

Between 1984 and 2003 the building housed a large collection of stuffed animals in complex dioramas, such as an animal courthouse or school classroom populated by baby squirrels. Known as "Mr Potter’s Museum of Curiosities", these exhibits were created by Walter Potter in the 1850s, and were originally housed in his museum in Bramber, Sussex. The collection was auctioned by Bonhams in 2003.[2]


Jamaica Inn Museum

Jamaica Inn has retained its other attraction, a display of various items owned by author Daphne du Maurier, including her writing desk and typewriter. The museum's main focus is its collection of smuggling artifacts and the inn's role in this trade.


The hotel is referenced in "Jamaica Inn" a song written by Tori Amos on her album The Beekeeper.

The inn was owned for a period by the novelist Alistair McLean.[3]


  1. ^ Paschke, Jean (March 2007). "The Cornwall of Daphne du Maurier". British Heritage (Weider History Group). Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  2. ^ "Walter Potter’s amazing tableaux take centre stage". Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  3. ^ Macdonald, Gina (2003). Dictionary of Literary Biography: British Mystery and Thriller Writers since 1960. Gale. pp. 236. OCLC 231975685. 

External links

Coordinates: 50°33′44″N 4°34′01″W / 50.56225°N 4.566847°W / 50.56225; -4.566847



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