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Virginia Woolfe

The Plough Inn Holford

& the connection with

Virginia Woolfe 1882 - 1941

 English Essayist and Author

In August 1912, Virginia Woolfe and her husband Leonard spent two days of their honeymoon at the Plough Inn, on their way to the Continent. 

In August 1913, Leonard bought his wife back to Holford to the Plough Inn again, to help her recuperate from one of her ‘nervous breakdowns.’  Leonard writes in his diary of that summer of 1913, the following extracts:


“We went down to Holford on 23rd August.  Fifty years ago it was a remote, lovely little village at the foot of the Quantock Hills.  It contained the pleasant Alfoxton (or Alfoxden) House in which William and Dorothy Wordsworth lived in 1797 & 1798.  In one of Dorothy’s entries in her journal she wrote – ‘A beautiful evening, very starry, the horned moon’.

In 1913, the horned moon above Holford Combe was the same as Dorothy had seen in 1798 & I don’t think that really there had been much change in Nether Stowey (where Coleridge lived) and Holford and the Combe since then.  If Coleridge and Wordsworth had joined us for dinner, at the Plough Inn, they would have found it as much the same as then.

It was primitive, but extraordinarily pleasant.  The people who kept it – I have forgotten their name – were pure Holford country folk.  I knew them well as I had stayed there before.  They behaved with the greatest kindness, sensitiveness & consideration.  I don’t suppose there is anywhere in Britain an inn such as the Plough was in 1913.  The food was delicious, the most English of English food, which could hold its own with the best cuisine of the world.  Nothing could be better than the bread, butter, cream and eggs and bacon of the Somersetshire breakfast with which you began your morning.  The beef, mutton and lamb were always magnificent and perfectly cooked; enormous hams, cured by themselves and hanging from the rafters in the kitchen, were so perfect that for years we used to have them sent to us from time to time.  As for the drink they offered you, I do not say that you could compare it with say, Ch.Margaux or La Romanee-Conti, but they gave you beer and cider which only a narrow minded finicky drinker would fail to find delicious! “


On 8th September, Leonard and Virginia returned to London by train from Bridgwater.


Virginia committed suicide near her home in Rodmell, Sussex on 28th March 1941.


Quotes - Permission from the Charleston Trust.

Thanks to Mo Plomgren-Dove