Inside this artist's Cornish home on the market for £1.5 million

Ferryman's Rest sits beneath St Uny's Church in Lelant, Cornwall

Ferryman's Rest sits beneath St Uny's Church in Lelant - Credit: Lillicrap Chilcott

The former home of the artist John Miller and the landscape it sits in, is both creatively inspiring and steeped in history. It's also currently for sale.

It’s easy to see why artists have loved this house, situated on the beach at the head of the Hayle estuary, it’s dominated by big skies, huge expanses of water and open, sandy beaches. 

The Hayle Estuary with Ferryman's Rest, which is for sale with Lillicrap Chilcott

The Hayle Estuary with Ferryman's Rest, which is for sale with Lillicrap Chilcott - Credit: Lillicrap Chilcott

Views like this one, which stretches across the estuary and St Ives Bay, with its golden sand and azure blue seas, is now such an iconic image of Cornwall. And that’s very much down to the artist John Miller, who lived in this house. 

John was already an established painter by the time he moved to Ferryman’s Rest in the 1990s and he would take early morning walks along Porthkidney Beach, just below the house, inspired to paint by the light and landscape that opened out before him. 

His idyllic beach scenes of Cornwall, with their glowing beaches and deep blue skies, have been exhibited far and wide and have a global following; they are synonymous with the county and have influenced contemporary Cornish art. 

Ferryman’s Rest is now up for sale, and it’s creative legacy is something that endured for some time, according to the current owner, Nicola Cannon Brookes. 

The dining room at Ferryman's Rest on the Hayle Estuary at Lelant

The dining room at Ferryman's Rest on the Hayle Estuary at Lelant - Credit: Lillicrap Chilcott

Nicola and her husband bought the house in 2006, from artist couple Janet Lynch and Ian Brown. She says that at the time, she remembers signs of creativity, paint, palettes and the smell of oil paint, but she had no idea about the link to John Miller, who had died in Penzance in 2002. 

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That came about through snippets of information gleaned from the ‘community of walkers’ who’d pass by the house on the way to the beach. 

An interior view of Ferryman's Rest, the former home of John Miller, Lelant Cornwall

An interior view of Ferryman's Rest, the former home of John Miller - Credit: Lillicrap Chilcott

The New Craftsman Gallery in St Ives were very helpful she says and she eventully got in touch with John’s partner, the potter Michael Truscott, who lived with him at Ferryman’s. ‘I never got to speak to John Miller, but Michael was such a lovely man.’ 

Inspired by this legacy Nicola invited artist Alan Kingwell to spend time at the house, as ‘artist in residence’. His paintings are on the walls today, a reminder of the painters who once lived and were inspired by the house. 

Relax outside and enjoy the views of the Hayle Estuary from Ferryman's Rest, Lelant, Cornwall

Relax outside and enjoy the views of the Hayle Estuary from Ferryman's Rest - Credit: Lillicrap Chilcott

The house, situated below the ancient St Uny’s Church and with the beach below, has been the scene of many happy family memories, says Nicola. Just watching the water is enough to while away several hours, she says. 

‘You never get bored. There are always fishing boats going out, gig rowers practising and in recent years we’ve had the stand-up paddle boards. This is also a really big area for kite surfers. On a windy day you’ll get 20 to 30 of them.’ 

Sunset over Hayle Estuary from Ferryman's Rest, Lelant

Sunset over the Hayle Estuary - Credit: Lillicrap Chilcott

It turns out that Ferryman’s has yet more famous connections. The writer Ruth Aspinall was a previous owner, and Lelant-born writer, Rosamunde Pilcher was married in St Uny’s Church and apparently loved the walk from there to the beach, past the house. 

The house and the area has a special feel, says Nicola, who has been passionate about protecting the footpath so loved of Rosamunde.  

The path is now part of St Michael’s Way, which forms part of the medieval pilgrimage route taken by pilgrims from Ireland and Wales, heading to St James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It cuts 12 miles across land from St Uny’s Church to St Michael’s Mount. 

‘There is such immense history here, and at the church, which is 1000 years old, and one of the earliest Christian locations in the country.  

‘It’s steeped in a huge amount of history - it does make you tingle!’ she says. 

Nicola and her husband have both lived in, and also rented the house out, for holidays. They live in a neighbouring property and have enjoyed welcoming people to Ferryman’s and seeing the effect being in a house in such a location has had on them.  

Nicola hopes a new owner will also fall for its charm and its history. And if another artist or creative person moved in, well... that would be perfect! 

Ferryman’s Rest is a a detached four bedroomed house, along with John Miller’s former art studio, the Beach House, now a separate two bedroomed residence.  

There are steps to the beach, a large sun terrace a lawned seating area and a boat house with planning in perpetuity. 

It’s on the market for £1,500,000 with Lillicrap Chilcott, Truro.