Charlestown is a picturesque port with an interesting history.
Charlestown was originally known as West Polmear but was developed in the late 18th century by Charles Rashleigh, a mining gentleman of means. Rashleigh moved into the nearby Duporth Manor and in 1791 began work on the construction of a harbour and dock.
Until this time fishing boats and traders would haul up their boats onto the beach to load and unload. The first dock gates were in use at the end of the 1700s.
Maintaining water levels in the dock was achieved by constructing a leat, which brought water a distance of 4 miles (6.4 km), from the Luxulyan Valley.
The design of the port was by John Smeaton, famous for the Eddystone lighthouse.
Rashleigh not only constructed the harbour but also planned the village with its long, straight thoroughfare leading to Mount Charles.
Rashleigh transformed the small fishing village into a centre for transporting copper ore from local mines. One mine alone exported more than 40,000 tons of copper in a period of only 13 years.
When metal mining went into decline during the mid 19th century, Charlestown became a centre for the export of china clay from the pits of the St Austell area.
In 1799 the locals asked Rashleigh's permission to rename the place Charles's Town which became Charlestown.
Charlestown is named after its founder, the developer of the port, Charles Rashleigh. He died in 1823, a bankrupt.
Film and TV
Charlestown is a popular location with film makers and TV producers.
The new series of Poldark, produced by Mammoth Screen, features Charlestown as one of its filming locations. This and other locations for Poldark in Cornwall
More film and TV productions filmed at Charlestown
The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box (2013)
About Time (2012)
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Doctor Who episode The Curse of the Black Spot (2011)
Treasure Island Kids: The Monster of Treasure Island (2006)
Half Term (2005)
Man to Man (2005)
The New World (2005)
Two Men Went to War (2002)
Mansfield Park (1999)
Swept from the Sea (1999)
A Respectable Trade (1997)
Rebecca (1997 and 1940)
Moll Flanders (1996)
The Three Musketeers (1993)
The Missionary (1983)
The Eagle Has Landed (1976)
The Onedin Line (From 1971)
The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)
Farewell Topsails (1937)
On the 22nd May 1818, a ship named 'Charlestown' sailed from here with 50 emigrants on board bound for a new life in America. Whole families sailed including infants and even a 70 year old woman whose husband had emigrated seven months before.
Shipwrecks form a part of Charlestown's history. The Cecile Caroline, a French ship, was wrecked a short distance from the harbour in 1881 with the loss of the whole crew, cargo and the vessel.
The nearest large town is St Austell which has a full commercial facilities including cash withdrawal machines/ATM/Bancomat.
The nearest Tourist Information Centre is at
By-Pass Service Station, Southbourne Road, St Austell.
Tel: +44 (0)1726 879500
Charlestown is located on the south coast of Cornwall.
Click here to buy books online about Charlestown
Places of interest in or around CharlestownTowns, villages and other locations
Cornish phrases and place names
Things to do
in this area