Friday, March 2

Menabilly Daphne Du Maurier's Manderley In Cornwall

Menabilly estate Cornwall

Menabilly gatehouse Cornwall
A sidetrack today as I continue my journey in Daphne Du Maurier country in Cornwall, near to where I live. In my post The Magic of Fowey there was a photo of Du Maurier's house Ferryside. Today I was in search of Manderley as featured in her book Rebecca, which starts: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."

Manderley was based on a house called Menabilly where Du Maurier lived from 1943 to 1969. Unfortunately the house is on a private estate, so no admittance to the public and can't be seen from the coast or from the road. Only the gatehouse of Menabilly (small photo right) can be seen. But I've dug out an old photo (below) of Daphne and her family at Menabilly house, taken while she lived there.

Daphne Du Maurier at Menabilly her Manderley

What I've tried to do is to give a flavour of the Menabilly area with the photos I have clicked. The picture at the top of the post shows some of the estate.

Fowey and Menabilly is somewhere that I love. As yesterday was a pleasant winter's day it was a pleasure walking the coast and area.

The Menabilly estate stretches right to the sea. Below is Polridmouth Cottage which incorporates an old watermill which once ground grain for the estate. This is situated by a lake and overlooks a small beach and the sea.

Polridmouth Cottage Cornwall

Next is the lake taken from the small beach ...

Polridmouth lake Cornwall

... and this is the seaweed strewn beach. A bit hazy in the distance but clear for this time of the year.

Polridmouth beach Cornwall

From here we headed along the coastal path which took us up Lankelly Cliff. In the distance was the ancient town of Fowey and where the River Fowey joined the sea.

Cliffs at Menabilly Cornwall

Polruan and where the River Fowey joins the sea

With the sun now behind us the views inland were clear and bright. Good, green farming land.

Cows near Menabilly Cornwall

When Daphne Du Maurier started Rebecca with the words, "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again," it was like a cry from herself. Her husband had been temporarily posted to Alexandria, which she disliked. She longed to return to Menabilly, her Manderley, and to see the cliffs, sea and the wooded headlands. And who can blame her!

I came across this short video of Daphne Du Maurier at Menabilly when she was about 40.

See also other Fowey area posts:
The Magic Of Fowey Cornwall
The Tristan Stone And King Arthur And His Knights

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  1. I love that book to bits Mike. Lovely to see the house and area where Manderley is situated. You are so lucky to live nearby such countryside.

    1. It's a lovely area in the sunshine and I'm glad I ended up in Cornwall by more luck than judgement.

  2. This post is terrific. I love everything this woman wrote and what fun it is to see the countryside and environment that inspired her. Now, off to watch this video!

    1. In Fowey they hold a regular Du Maurier festival. I've been a couple of times and the views from where it is held are amazing.

  3. I have no idea who this woman is,or what books she wrote,but I did enjoy the stroll through the Cornish countryside with you Mike.

    1. I guess she's a very English writer - though seems to be well known in the USA. It's an area near to where I live that I like a lot.

  4. I have been lucky enough to have stayed on this estate, it's magic and beauty can never be accurately described to anyone who hasn't been there. I've walked the path that Daphne did when she first came across Menebilly all those years ago to find the boarded up windows and the roof caved in. The grounds which were twisted in vines and roots are now plush lawns and well maintained woodland the estate is ever changing and Sir Richard has worked hard to make this a place for generations to come without trading on the Du Maurier connection which would have been easy to do.

  5. Thank you for the great post and interesting video here! Quite a wonderful estate with a great story to tell. Thank you, Mike.

  6. I asked for and received the book, Rebecca, for Christmas and as soon as I had the opportunity, immersed myself in it. I had seen and loved the movie, but as a reader, and knowing of the practical decisions that are made in converting books to movies, really wanted to hear the writer's voice. I just now finished the book along with all of the special notes at the end, and feeling bereft now, have resorted to prolonging my time in this beautiful world online. Thank you all for helping ease my transition back to my own harsher, less mist-shrouded world of Baltimore, Maryland, USA. I am inspired to visit Cornwall and even look up my English ancestors!

    1. Thank you for your interesting comment. I hope you make it to Cornwall. Best wishes.

  7. Olympia10:55

    I am obsessed with Rebecca. Watch the movie all the time. I wrote to Joan Fontaine before she died, telling her how much I loved it. I received an autographed photo. Saddened to hear that most of the film was made in a studio. Can't wait to visit Cornwall. I'm wondering how I can get a glimpse of Menabilly.

  8. Menabilly is on the Cornish maps, so shouldn't be too difficult to find when in Cornwall - though you would probably need transport (a car perhaps) as there are no buses or trains nearby.