Alphington is a former manor and village on the outskirts of Exeter. The village has since been absorded by its expanding neighbour and is now a suburb of Exeter.
Charles Dickens and Alphington.
In March 1839 Charles Dickens travelled to Exeter, Devon and found a cottage for his parents to stay in, a mile out from the city and effectively banishing them from the temptations of London. John and Elizabeth lived here, in the then village of Alphington, from April 1839 to October 1842.
John Dickens continued to write letters begging for money to his friends, publishers and bankers. He started to sell samples of his son’s writing and signature to cash in on his fame. Exasperated, at one point Charles Dickens resorted to taking advertisements out in London newspapers explaining that only debts from himself and his wife would be honoured.
Eventually his parents returned from Devon, the problem still unresolved as recounted a few months later in a letter from February 1843 that his Father had gone
‘ravin mad with conscious willany. The thought of him besets me, night and day; and I really do not know what is to be done with him. It is quite clear that the more we do, the more outrageous and audacious he becomes’.
Mrs Lupin of the Blue Dragon in Martin Chuzzlewit is believed to have been founded upon the landlady of an Alphington Inn.
Once on the outskirts of the Exeter, the village of Alphington has since been absorded by expansion of the city and is now a suburb.