Dartmoor National Park
Wrote over 250 novels, plays and poems, many of them centred on Dartmoor
Eden Phillpotts - novels and plays
The village of Widecombe, which features in Phillpotts' 1913 novel Widecombe Fair - and later inspired an Alfred Hitchcock silent film
Born in India, the son of a British army officer, Eden Phillpotts was educated back home in Plymouth – and came to spend much of his spare time exploring nearby Dartmoor.
Despite his love of the wild open spaces of Dartmoor, he spent the first 10 years of his career working as an insurance clerk before deciding to study acting then later becoming a writer.
Phillpotts wrote about Dartmoor in a similar vein to the way in which Thomas Hardy wrote about Dorset. He was a prolific author, producing more than 250 books, from novels to plays and poems.
Caring for the landscape
As well as being inspired by the Dartmoor landscape, the author cared deeply about conservation and was president of the Dartmoor Preservation Association.
The Dartmoor series
The author wrote 18 novels and two short stories all centred on Dartmoor which still have many fans today. They contain wonderful descriptions of the moor and its settlements and provide a snapshot of life on Dartmoor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Dartmoor cycle of novels includes:
- Children Of The Mist (1898)
- Sons Of The Morning (1900)
- The Portreeve (1906)
- The Thief Of Virtue (1910)
- The Beacon (1911)
- Widecombe Fair (1913) – see IMAGE
- Children Of Men (1923)
Wide screen success
Phillpotts drew the scenario for his comic play, The Farmer’s Wife, from the plot of this novel. This was later made into a silent film, released in 1928, and became one of the early movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
Did you know?
He also wrote detective novels under the pseudonym Harrington Hext.