Cornwall is not only one of the UK’s premier holiday destinations, but a popular residing place for the great and good. Read on for a round-up of the some of the county’s most famous residents, past and present:
Olympic sailor, Sir Charles Benedict ‘Ben’ Ainslie (1977-present)
Born in Macclesfield, Ben Ainslie relocated to Cornwall whilst still a child, going to Truro School. He began sailing at the Restronquet Sailing Club at 8 years old and had entered intohis first sailing contest by 10. Ben was the first to bear the Olympic Torch at the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay from Land’s End.
Inventor and watchmaker, John Arnold (1736-1799)
Bodmin born John was one of the best known British watchmakers, producing precise chronometers. He is also known for refining the chronometer escapement and balance spring. John Arnold made precise regulator clocks for Greenwich’s Royal Observatory and his timepieces were such high standard that they were used by Captain James Cook on his South Sea journeys.
Novelist, Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989)
Daphne du Maurier was born in London but Cornwall has played a huge part in her literary success. Her first novel was published in 1931, titled ‘The Loving Spirit’. Her most notable works have been set in Cornwall, including ‘Rebecca’ which she later adapted into a play. She spent much of her life visiting the region and spent the last years of her life living near Trenython Manor Cornwall.
Writer, poet, spy, soldier and explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh (1522-1618)
Although Sir Walter Raliegh was born in neighbouring Devon, he spent much of his time either at the Tower of London or in Cornwall. He was Lord Warden of the Stannaries (responsible for calling a Stannary Parliament of tinners) from 1584-1603 and was Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall (of High Sheriff as it’s also known) from 1587-1603.
Actress and comedienne, Dawn French (1957-present)
Dawn French was born in Holyhead, Anglesey and educated at the St Dunstan’s Abbey boarding school in Devon, she went onto study at the Central School of Speech and Drama where she met her comedy partner Jennifer Saunders. The duo first came to attention in the 1980s as part of an alternative comedy scene on The Comic Strip. Dawn has had an extensive television career, best known for ‘French & Saunders’ and ‘The Vicar of Dibley’. Dawn moved to Cornwall in 2007 with her then husband Lenny Henry. Since divorced, Dawn still lives in Cornwall where she is often seen walking her dog with new husband Mark Bignell.
Rally driver and engineer, Donald Mitchell Healy (1898-1988)
Donald Healey was born in Perranporth in 1898. He was interested in engineering from a young age, with a great interest in aircraft. Following school, he started working at the Sopwith Aviation Company and became a volunteer for the RFC (Royal Flying Crops). He earned his ‘wings’ in 1916. During his time in the RFC, he was shot down by British anti-aircraft fire and was invalided out. He went back to Cornwall where he took a course I automobile engineering. In 1931, he came first in the Monte Carlo Rally and continued to rank highly for years to come.