Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

John Fowles

The author John Fowles has died.

John Fowles was regarded by many critics as the finest novelist that England produced in the twentieth century.

He was born in the old maritime town of Leigh in Essex, but had lived for many years at Lyme Regis in Dorset. It’s the sort of place that people tend to fall in love with, like St. Ives, Southwold and Whitby.

Two of his earlier books had been filmed. “The Collector” starred Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, while “The Magus” featured Michael Caine and Anthony Quinn.

But it was the cinema adaptation of “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” that brought John Fowles’ name into mass consciousness.

This was filmed at Lyme Regis, and provided one of twentieth century cinema’s abiding images – the cloaked Meryl Streep on The Cobb, the ancient stone harbour wall that juts out into the sea.

He played a prominent role in the cultural life of his adopted town, being involved with the Historical Society and also the Museum.

When I was in Lyme during the Summer, I enquired after him, and was told that he was very poorly. I got the impression that nobody there expected him to be with us for much longer.

John Fowles died on Monday 7th November, aged 79.