Fans of Poldark may be interested to know more about the author Winston Graham’s connection to Prideaux Place. Generations of readers have fallen in love with the Cornwall of his magical Poldark saga. Set in the 18th century,the stories of the Poldark family have sold millions of copies.
In 1970 they were made into one of the most appealing and widely watched television series of the decade. To tremendous acclaim 2015 saw a new adaptation of Poldark for BBC One Drama starring Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark and Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza.
Much of the filming of Poldark takes place against the backdrop of North Cornwall’s breathtaking and rugged coastline. In the latest adaptation the spectacular headland at Stepper Point, at the mouth of the Camel Estuary, part of the Prideaux-Brune Estate, was used for some of the most dramatic cliff scenes of horse drawn carriages filmed hurtling across the cliff tops.
Winston became a great friend of the Prideaux-Brune family and was a regular visitor to the house. During his last visit he was working on his final novel ‘Bella Poldark’ when a serious fire broke out in the house. There was great panic until his handwritten manuscript was found safe and undamaged.
He wanted to include the Prideaux-Brune family in ‘Bella’ and created the character Captain Philip Prideaux. Clowance, the Poldark’s widowed daughter, meets Philip a mysterious figure who emerges from the shadow of the Battle of Waterloo and wishes to marry her. Prideaux Place is frequently referred to in the book and Ross himself visits the house when he rides up the drive to find the family ‘en fete’ and is urged to stay for supper.Winston is remembered with much affection by the Prideaux-Brune family who remain in close contact with with his daughter Rosamund.