Jane Austen (1775-1817) Much of her inspiration came from holidays taken in the South West. Sense and Sensibility was set around Upon Pyne, about 4 miles from Exeter. The novel was turned into a film in 1995 and filming took place at Saltram House in Plympton, the village church at Berfry Pomeroy, Compton Castle near Paignton, Mothercombe in South Devon and the historic cobbled streets of Plymouth's Barbican.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) Youngest son of the vicar of Ottery St Mary, Devon, where he was born
Agatha Christie (1890-1976)was born in Barton Road, Torquay in September, 1890. n the end, she was found at a hotel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, and the claim was that she was suffering from amnesia. No real explanation has ever been forthcoming, but it's known that she cheekily booked herself into the hotel as "Teresa Neele." She and Archie were divorced, and Agatha married her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan, in 1930. She later bought a house, called Greenway, overlooking the River Dart at Galmpton - and it is now owned by her daughter, Rosalind Hicks. Dame Agatha used Torquay as the setting for some of her mysteries. A clifftop in St Marychurch is believed to have been the setting for "Why Didn't They Ask Evans?" All Saints Church in Torre, Torquay, was built thanks to donations from the Christie family - and it is where Agatha was baptized. Agatha wrote over 80 whodunnits, as well as 100-plus short stories - and some romantic novels under the name of Mary Westmacott. She also wrote plays - and one, The Mousetrap, is one of the biggest West End stage smashes of all time. Her two most famous characters are Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. If you're not so keen on strenuous moorland hikes, and prefer something a little more gentle, then the Agatha Christie Mile in Torquay might be a walk which is right up your street. It's reasonably flat (apart from one hill!), contains some fabulous views, and, with a mystery to solve, it's fun as well. Torquay marina and overlooking hills The view of Torquay from Parkhill Road, which is part of the trail Torquay town has several landmarks which are associated with her. The Agatha Christie Mile takes in 10 landmarks - all dotted around the Torquay harbour and seafront area. The walk starts at Torquay's tourism information centre on the harbourside, where you can pick up the Agatha Christie Mile leaflet. That takes you through the landmarks....and at eight of them, there are clues which spell out the name of a character linked with Dame Agatha's books. The only hill is right at the start, up Beacon Hill to the Imperial Hotel - used as the setting for some of her books - and Beacon Cove, where she bathed as a young woman. The Agatha Christie bust in Torquay The bronze bust of Agatha Christie in Torquay The walk also takes in Torquay Musuem, which has an Agatha Christie exhibition; the Agatha Christie bronze bust in Cary Gardens near the harbour; Princess Gardens; the 12th century Torre Abbey opposite Torquay's main beach; and, finally, the Grand Hotel, where the crimewriter spent her honeymoon. It's a gentle stroll around the harbour and main beach, with plenty of opportunities for a stop for a cup of tea (or something stronger). You can also imagine what the place must have been like during Dame Agatha's childhood, when Torquay enjoyed its heyday, and learn about the author's life and times. Agatha Christie photo trail: Devon connections
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
|spent a lot of time in Exeter (his parents lived in the city's outskirts). He often went to the Turks Head pub, still standing in the High Street and the pub is reputed to own the chair that Dickens is said to have sat in when he wrote the scene in Pickwick Papers that features the pub. He also started work on Nicholas Nickleby during one of his visits. I am told that that Dickens brought his parents to live in Alphington in order to escape the debtors' prison. The house still stands in Alphington Road and perhaps can be visited still? My informant worked at the old primary school there and took children to have a look and read them an abridged version of David Copperfield.|
After a voyage as doctor in a boat travelling to Africa he gave-up the position as soon as he landed back in England. Then came a short but quite dramatic stint with an unscrupulous doctor in Plymouth of which Conan Doyle gave a vivid account of forty years later in The Stark Munro Letters. After that debacle, and on the verge of bankruptcy, Conan Doyle left for Portsmouth.
Robert Graves (1895-1985) During the second world war he lived in Galmpton, Devon.
Sheila Kaye-Smith (1887-1956) buried in churchyard at Horns Cross
|Shelley (1792-1822) 1812-13 lodged in Lynmouth and Tremaddick. Was inspired by the wild beauty of the region. While in Lynmouth Shelley wrote political pamphlets, put them in bottles and dropped them into the Bristol Channel. When government officials found out Shelley had to flee Lynmouth and went to live in Wales.|| |
Cwmtrwrch Farm Hotel, Lynmouth
Henry Williamson (1895-1977) 1921-36 rented cottage he named Skirr, in Georgham, North Devon, an ancient cottage which had been built in the days of King John. With the prize money for "Tarka - the Otter" he bought a field at Ox's Cross above Georgeham where he built himself a Writing Hut. 1929 The family moved to Shallowford near South Molton, Devon. He returned to North Devon 1947. He was buried in Georgeham Churchyard in North Devon, next to his first home. There is a Tarka trail, based on the otter's journey which began and ended at the Canal Bridge, near Great Torrington.
Francis Brett Young (1884-1954) practised medicine in Brixham 1907-14The extra details are from the Arts, Crafts & Literature Pamphlet of Cornwall and Devon. Other authors included in it are Charles Kingsley, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, R. D. Blackmore and Agatha Christie.