LOCAL HISTORY & DAPHNE DU MAURIER
Readymoney Cove is a fascinating place, an iconic and instantly recognisable view with its ornate turrets and full of local history, in particular its connection with famed author Daphne du Maurier. We often get asked about the history of this place we are lucky enough to be part of so I thought it might be helpful to set out some of the relevant local history.
The building with the three turrets used to be a lime kiln. Now Grade II listed , it was built in 1819 for the Rashleigh family as part of the Menabilly estate, possibly on the site of a pilchard cellar. The ornamental turrets were added around 1900 and are topped with scallop shaped metal shingles, one turret bears a metal flag with a cut out image of the Fowey town seal.
A lean to structure where the shop and toilets are now can be seen in photos from the 1900's. This was subsequently rebuilt as a flat roofed concrete toilet block and changing area in the 1930's. The access to the men's toilets used to be down the steps at the back where the shop bin storage now is. Local people talk fondly of soaking up the sun on the flat roof of the toilet block in their youth but sadly health & safety measures have required the roof to be fenced off.
In 1929 the limekiln was bought and subsequently restored by local furniture maker Jesse Julian who created a new rooftop lookout point, dedicated to his father. You can see the arched entrance to the kilns in the photo above. The covered shelter by the seawall was built in 1935 for the Silver Jubilee of George V and used to have glass panes in the windows.
There is more information about the limekiln on the Historic England website here. The limekiln now houses a water pumping station to support the town's sewer system, if you visit the beach you can see the access hatches on the slipway.
What does Readymoney mean?
Rather disappointingly, the word Readymoney does not derive from Fowey's history as a prime spot for smugglers. Instead it is believe to come from the old Cornish word 'redeman' which meant 'shallow ford' or 'stepping stones'.
Daphne du Maurier
Readymoney is most famous for its connection to the author Daphne Du Maurier and there is no better way to describe that connection than in the words of Muriel Mansell who first met Du Maurier in 19030 when she was 10 years old. Click here to read her wonderful story. Daphne du Maurier rented Readymoney Cottage, the house directly facing the beach which currently has a white picket fence and a large wooden gate. The house is now a second home and is not accessible by the public.
Note: The photographs used in this piece have been sent to me via Facebook, some from the brilliant Noah's Ark Fowey Photographs Archive (which is well worth a visit) and some from other sources. I do not own the copyright to these pictures.