Away from the town of Bodmin, we crossed the similarly named Bodmin Moor, where, nestled in between the rolling green hills is an iconic Cornish landmark…
Status: Cornwall Unitary Authority & County, Village, England
Eating & Sleeping: Jamaica Inn Restaurant
Attractions: Jamaica Inn, Jamaica Inn Museum, War Memorial etc
We had arrived at the famous “Jamaica Inn”, a beautiful historic Coaching Inn originally built in 1750. It was known as a smugglers haven, as during the 18th century it was supposedly frequented by Cornish Pirates/Smugglers who would hide out here on the Moor. At the time, the building stood alone, the accompanying village of Bolventor only grew up much later, with the local Parish only dating back to 1846 (although it is now part of Altarnun Parish).
The Jamaica Inn was extended in 1778, when a few extra buildings were added on, such as a Coaching House, and Stables for travellers horses. The Inn lies on a key route through central Cornwall, what is known today as the A30, which runs all the way from Honiton in Devon, via the terminus of the M5 at Exeter, in to Cornwall at Launceston, over the Moor and down to Penzance.
The Jamaica Inn was relatively unknown (outside of Cornwall at least) until 1936, when a novel called “Jamaica Inn” was published by an author called Daphne du Maurier (1907 – 1989, London Author). It would go on to become a famous classic, which she actually wrote whilst staying at the Inn, after getting lost out on the Moor. The tales she was told here inspired her novel, which tells of a young woman named Mary Yellan who visits her Aunt on the Moor, and ends up getting embroiled in the dangerous life of Smugglers…
The Inn still celebrates the famous novel, which can be bought in the giftshop. As well as the Bar/Restaurant, which has some fantastic food, you can visit the Jamaica Inn Museum, and find out all about the history of the area, and what inspired Daphne to write her novel. You can find out more on their official website here.
Out in the Courtyard of the Inn, you can see the famous sign, as well as the local Stocks, which visitors can pose with. Gemma shall be sentenced at a later date!
Just across the road is the Bolventor War Memorial, in honour of all those from the Parish of Bolventor who perished during the Great War, and other conflicts. It stands in the shape of a Celtic Cross, and Cornwall is of course one of the ancient Cornish kingdoms.
After enjoying a Cornish Cream Tea at the Jamaica Inn, and sampling some of it’s history, we looked out across Bodmin Moor, with the A30 just below us in the clearing. Whilst the main route through central Cornwall now bypasses the Inn ever so slightly, it is still an important stop.
The Village around it has grown from it’s origins in a Church, and a School to accompany the Inn to multiple houses and the Memorial. The Inn is in a beautiful location, and another famous landmark to add to our list.
Our next stop was the former County Town of Launceston, at the Easternmost end of Bodmin Moor, far away from Bodmin at the Westernmost end…