The opening sentence of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” has stuck in readers' minds ever since the novel was published in 1938. Manderley, the expansive mansion where Rebecca takes place hones its own presence in the novel (Gaitonde).
It has been speculated that Manderley can actually be conceived as a character in the novel, as, like most novelists do in creating their characters, Manderley can be seen as a composite of two places. It is popular belief that Manderley is the combination of Menabilly, the manor that the du Mauriers lived in from 1943 to 1969 in Fowey, along the southern Cornish coast, and Milton Hall near Cambridgeshire, which was known for its expansive and intricate details (Gaitonde).
These places, the exterior architecture taken from Menabilly, and the interior details from Milton hall, have allowed for the creation of the fictional estate, which is filled with family heirlooms, run by a large domestic staff, and is open to the public on certain days for show. However, despite the home’s beauty and charm, there is a sense of distress and misfortune due to the events that have taken place prior to the new Mrs. de Winter.