Jamaica Inn, immortalised by Daphne Du Maurier, is sold

Allen Jackson outside Jamaica Inn Mr Jackson put in his bid for Jamaica Inn within an hour of seeing it for the first time

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An 18th Century inn in Cornwall, immortalised by author Daphne du Maurier, has sold for more than £2m.

Jamaica Inn was bought by businessman Allen Jackson from Dorking in Surrey.

The 17-bedroom smuggling inn on Bodmin Moor was also once owned by thriller writer Alistair McLean.

Mr Jackson, who bid for the property an hour after first viewing it, said: "I saw it as a great opportunity to acquire Cornwall's most iconic, historic and famous inn."

Jamaica Inn was built in 1750 as a coaching inn for travellers using the turnpike between Launceston and Bodmin.

'Timely acquisition'

Smugglers are believed to have hid contraband in the inn, which gained its name because of its considerable trade in rum.

Du Maurier stayed at the inn in 1930 and the atmosphere is said to have inspired her to write the book, which was also dramatised in 1936 by Alfred Hitchcock.

The inn features the original writing desk used by the author and a large number of her possessions.

Mr Jackson, who is in his late 50s, said the BBC's television adaptation of Jamaica Inn - which is due to be shown around Easter - made it a "very timely acquisition", Mr Jackson said.

It was put on the market in January by John and Wendy Watts who have owned it for the past 40 years.

Estate agent Christie and Co said there had been "extraordinary" interest because of the inn's "historic and literary iconic status.

Mr Jackson said he hopes to "breathe new life into this fantastic and historic location" and intends to split his time between Surrey and Cornwall.

He will spend at least five days a week at the inn running the business himself and will also appointing hospitality and admin managers to look after the business while he is away.

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