In a survey of the literature of the West Country of England it is impossible to neglect Dartmoor author Eden Phillpotts.  It is indeed most shameful that despite having written no less than eighteen novels and two volumes of short fiction about Dartmoor, Phillpotts is not as well known as other West Country authors such as Thomas Hardy or Agatha Christie.  Hence, it is the aim of this website to bring to light the achievements of Eden Phillpotts’s writings, so often overlooked by readers and critics alike, and to bring his legacy of Dartmoor to readers in the twenty-first century.




Very few details are known about Eden Phillpotts because of his inclination towards privacy.  Scraps of information about his life have been gleaned here and there from his letters and a few memoirs; however, these mostly recount his writings and do not give much explanation of his childhood or adult life.  We do know that Phillpotts was born in India at Rajputana in 1862 and lived there until his father died.  After his father’s death, the Phillpotts clan returned to England.  Eden’s mother settled with her three sons (Eden being the eldest at about three years old) in her native Somerset.  All three sons attended Mannamead College at Plymouth, and when Eden was seventeen he left Devon to work in London at an insurance office. 


The Dartmoor Cycle

The Cycle is comprised of eighteen novels, and two volumes of short stories all taking the locale of Dartmoor as their subject.  Originally, Phillpotts had only planned on writing fourteen novels for the series, but in the end he included another four novels that also claimed Dartmoor for their setting.  However, some critics note that there is a discernable difference in theme and ideology after the fourteenth novel, which gives a marked sense of closure to its predecessors.  The other four novels are more about industry on the moor and do not fit as smoothly into the ideology of the first fourteen.




Author, Eden Phillpotts

Customs and Traditions of Dartmoor

The title of the novel Widecombe Fair points to an annual tradition which is an important social fixture in rural community life.  The first publicly recorded fair in Widecombe took place in the 1850s, although these fairs were held in the village for many years prior to this date.




©Andi Paul 2007


'Over the shoulders of Hameldon, the sunshine came slanting amid great shadows, that fell, wine-coloured, from the hills.'

-Widecombe Fair

Eden Phillpotts's Vision of Dartmoor