E.M. Forster (1879-1970) , celebrated author of A Passage to India and other novels, used to stay in Felton.
Forster's Uncle Willie was a huntin', fishin' and shootin' gentleman who lived at Acton House. Forster spent part of the summer with him for several years around 1900. He wrote a letter from there on 27 July 1899:
'Yesterday I went to Bamborough (sic) saw the castle and tombs of my ancestors - I've no reason to suppose they are, though the name is the same and the arms similar, but Bamborough is such a nice cradle for one's race that I shall always call them mine. Then I paddled on the deserted beach and felt very Calibanish for I had nothing to dry my toes and the sand stuck them together.'
Forster was certainly at his uncle's in April 1904 and writes from there again on 28 October 1905. He was again at Acton House in the summer of 1906, but that was his last visit; nor was Forster mentioned in his uncle's will. Relations with the unpredictable Uncle Willie broke down and Forster came no more.
Acton house is an impressive two-storied ashlared building of about 1780, and Forster, by his own account, used it as a model for Cadover in his own favourite novel The Longest Journey (1907). This was Forster's most autobiographical work, in which, again by his own account, the character of Mrs Failing owes something to Uncle Willie.