Secret Cornish celebrities
Published: Wednesday 15th Apr 2015
Written by: Catherine
Cornwall is a beautiful county, one adored by those who live in it and visit it. As such, it may come as little surprise that it has attracted its fair share of famous faces over the years, but it may be a revelation to learn that it is also the birthplace of a number of celebrities too.
A spot of celebrity watching may not be the reason for you to book a holiday cottage this summer, but you may find that you can’t help yourself when there are so many to see! Here we uncover Cornwall’s secret celebrities to watch out for during your next trip to the south west.
Cornish born and bred
She may be recognised for her roles in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, ‘The English Patient’ and, more recently, starring alongside Ryan Gosling in ‘Only God Forgives’, but actress Kristin Scott Thomas was actually born in Cornwall before coming to Hollywood fame. Born in Redruth in 1960 to Deborah and Lieutenant Commander Simon Scott Thomas, and the great-great-niece of the explorer Captain Scott who famously lost the race to the South Pole in 1912, Scott Thomas is among the most famous actresses to be born in Cornwall. Despite considering herself sometimes more French than British, having lived in France since the age of 19, she also stands as a Cornish-born Dame, having been presented with the honour earlier this year.
Also from Redruth originally is drummer and co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood. While the band has its roots in London, it could not have been formed without its namesake, Cornish-born Mick Fleetwood.
Next up is another Cornish actress who made it into Hollywood - Thandie Newton…well, sort of. While she was born in London and then lived in Zambia for three years, she then moved to Penzance where she lived until she was 11 years old. Newton spoke of her experience growing up in Cornwall in a foreword she produced for a book of children’s writing entitled ‘We Wish: Hopes and Dreams of Cornwall's Children’ for the NSPCC, in which she said, “Cornwall is the end of the road, and the port to the world: an end and a beginning”.
Similarly, although born in Lancashire, presenter and TV personality Phillip Schofield grew up in Newquay. Despite now living in Oxfordshire with his family, Schofield still describes Cornwall as his home, stating on a recent visit, “I never need an excuse to come back home to Newquay”.
Next to the list of celebrities to have come out of Cornwall there is an even higher number of celebrities who wished to call the county home. Madonna, believe it or not, is one such celebrity. Perhaps one of the county’s most high profile residents, the Queen of Pop was reported to have bought a second home in Falmouth in 2010. Despite an attempt to keep the property secret, the Cornish housing association casually alluded to the news in a press release at the time.
Welsh-born Dawn French is one of Cornwall’s loudest fans; she makes it no secret that she loves the area, having spent much of her childhood in the county before going on to purchase a £2.3 million home in Fowey with her then husband Lenny Henry. She was even made the Chancellor of Falmouth University in September 2014.
Similarly, Richard and Judy are no strangers to proclaiming their love of Cornwall. The couple have a house in Polperro so they spend a great deal of time in the county, but it also has a huge significance for the family as a whole; it is where Richard first got to really know Judy’s sons. Richard said in this article, “The weather was beautiful and over the course of that week I not only fell in love with the boys but with Cornwall, too.”
When you think of Padstow, celebrity chef Rick Stein can’t help but come to mind. Now owning several businesses in the area he has not only made his mark on the county, but also helped build Padstow into a hugely desirable location.
Finally, Dame Judi Dench, Alex Polizzi, Savannah Miller and Monty Halls are all celebrities to have expressed their love of Cornwall through designing jute bags for Cornish clothing brand Seasalt in aid of the Fisherman’s Mission. The designs are based on their love of the county, where £1 per sale will go towards the Fisherman’s Mission, a charity that provides emergency support and care to fishermen and their families.
Share your celebrity pictures from holidays in Cornwall on the Cornish Horizons Facebook and Twitter pages.