Timeline

1979

Acclaimed novelist Jean Rhys dies in Exeter

Famous twentieth century novelist Jean Rhys was born Ella Gwendoline Rees Williams in Rouseau, Dominica 1894, the daughter of a Welsh doctor and a White Creole mother, whose family had been plantation owners on the island for generations. 

Rhys lived in the Devon village of Cheriton Fitzpaine, near Crediton, from 1960 until her death in May 1979. It was there that she completed her most famous work, Wide Saragasso Sea (1966), prequel to Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre (1847) which tells the story of White Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway who became Bronte's infamous 'mad woman in the attic'.  

Jean Rhys died at the Royal Devon & Exeter hospital in Exeter. According to a recent biography, she found Cheriton Fitzpaine rather boring.