Historic Jamaica Inn sold for £2m

A historic inn immortalised by Daphne du Maurier's eponymous novel has sold for more than £2 million.
 
  • The famous Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, in a wintery scene
    Last updated: 03 March 2014, 16:40 GMT

    A historic inn immortalised by Daphne du Maurier's eponymous novel has sold for more than £2 million.

    Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall was put on the market for the first time in nearly 40 years in January.

    It has been bought by businessman Allen Jackson, from Dorking in Surrey, who made an offer within an hour of viewing it.

    The 18th century inn was once owned by thriller writer Alistair McLean and has been sold by John and Wendy Watts, who bought it for £176,000 in 1976.

    Matthew Smith, director of estate agent Christie & Co in Exeter, said the sale had received an "extraordinary amount of interest" from as far afield as the US, Canada and Australia.

    The 17-bedroom inn is the setting for du Maurier's classic novel which follows a group of murderous ship wreckers who kill sailors and steal their loot.

    Set in the early 19th century, the novel was first published in 1936, with Alfred Hitchcock making the first screen version in 1939. The BBC is set to air a new three-part adaptation of the book this Easter.

    Mr Jackson said: "Within an hour of viewing the Jamaica Inn, I had made an offer. I saw it as a fantastic opportunity to acquire Cornwall's most iconic, historic and famous inn.

    "This amazing place has so much potential. And, of course with the BBC adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel airing around Easter, I believe that it's a very timely acquisition."

    Jamaica Inn was built in 1750 as a coaching inn called on by weary travellers using the turnpike between Launceston and Bodmin.

    Smugglers were said to have hidden their contraband there, and it is believed about half of the brandy and a quarter of all tea being smuggled into the UK was landed along the Cornish and Devon coasts.

    It is thought the inn may have got its name because it did a considerable trade in rum.

    Previous owners Mr and Mrs Watts, who are planning their retirement, said in a statement: "We feel privileged to have had the opportunity of owning the inn, and have enjoyed many happy and successful years in the business.

    "It is a very special property, steeped in history and legend, but it is now time to yield it to younger hands, who will inject new life and progress it further, for generations to come."

    Mr Jackson will divide his time between Surrey and Cornwall, spending five days a week at the inn running the business himself, his spokeswoman said.

    Last updated: 03 March 2014, 16:40 GMT

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