A map of ‘Duporth Holiday Camp Estate' has been discovered at Midas Homes' Two Coves development in Duporth, near St Austell, and the company is appealing to local people in Cornwall for more information.

Robin Palmer, site manager for the development, found the map under the barns in Ye Olde Barn Bar of the former holiday park. Speaking about his find he said:

"It looks like a really interesting map, which we think dates back to the 1920s and it would be a shame not to know a bit about its history. If anyone has any information or photographs of the holiday camp in that era we would love to hear from you."

Midas Homes has recently opened two show homes at the development, a three bedroom home and a four bedroom house, both very different from each other. One is very striking with lime greens, chocolate browns, creams and bright pinks with contemporary dark wood furniture and the other is very coastal, decorated in whites, creams and duck egg blues.

Wayne Bennett, sales and marketing director for Midas Homes said: "The new show homes are really something and are definitely worth a visit."

He added: "The map is a real find; it has been framed and is on display in the sales and marketing suite for visitors to view."

Built on the site of the old Duporth Holiday Village in St Austell, Two Coves has direct access to Duporth beach and will comprise a mix of apartments and houses; surrounded by mature hedgerows and ancient woodland. There is currently a range of three and four bedroom homes available priced from £258,000 and Midas Homes is offering the opportunity for people to part exchange their existing home for a new home near the sea!

If you have any information on the map or holiday park, or for further information on the new homes development, visit the sales and marketing suite, off Duporth Road, Duporth, open seven days a week, 11am - 5pm, or log on to midashomes.com.





Duporth was once part holiday village and part residential suburb. There is a long, narrow beach but it's quite some way down the slope. The coast path keeps to the cliff top, pretty well hemmed in between the backs of Duporth's gardens on one side and a screen of bushes and trees on the other.

Duporth Holiday Village was built on the site of the old Duporth estate and manor which was owned by Charles Rashleigh, who developed Charlestown. The site was sold in 1933 to Seaside Holiday Camps Ltd and the camp opened by the Whitsun of 1934.

During the second world war the camp was requisitioned by the War Office and the Indian Army and American Army were stationed there. After the war it returned to being a holiday camp. Butlins bought the camp in 1972 and it opened as one of their Smaller Freshfields sites. The Manor was demolished in 1989 after it became uneconomical to repair.

In 1985 The Rank Group owner of Butlins at that time, also bought Haven Holidays and certain sites including Duporth rebranded to the sister company (There is some anecdotal evidence that in the early 1980s Duporth was branded under another sister company's name Warner Holiday Camps). Duporth Holiday Village was owned by Haven Holidays until the early 2000s, then sold several times into private ownership. The capacity of the park was around 1200, with a combination of chalets and caravans, and self catering and half board holidays.

The ancient manor house at Duporth was said to have been haunted by the ghost of a nun known affectionately as "Flo". A century ago she could be heard striking matches in adjoining rooms and at the same time almost every night someone - or something? - would click open the lock on the cabinet in the drawing rooms.

The manor has now been demolished and the sight became Duporth Holiday Village, but according to a night security guard "Flo" has not gone away. Many strange happenings have been witnessed in recent years. The roundabout in the children's playground has been seen to turn by itself, first one way then the next without a breath of wind in the air. A kettle boiled itself in a locked and unattended room and a sewing machine which whirred into life without human assistance abruptly stopped when a member of staff said "no thanks Flo - I don't need you today". People claim to be aware of an invisible presence near the old farmhouse. An elderly lady staying at the village with her 5 year old granddaughter heard the child talking to someone on the landing one afternoon. On investigating the grandmother could see no one, and when questioned the child said she had been chatting to a nice old lady in a black dress.

Charles Rashleigh was Born at Menabilly Manor on 17th November 1747 in Tywardreath parish near Fowey. He was the seventh son and tenth child of Jonathan and Mary Rashleigh (nee Clayton). His father was MP for Fowey and a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries.  At seventeen he went to London to become a solicitor and was practicing in Lincoln’s Inn Field when at 22 he returned home to become managing agent for his brother Philip. His brother being eighteen years older had inherited Menabilly and its estates on the death of their father.

Rashleigh today would be known as a property developer, but in fact he was much more that for he was also a banker, lawyer, landowner, land agent (on a vast scale), mine owner and holder of a succession of public offices. Mount Charles in St Austell, and Charlestown (near St Austell) a small port set in a time warp and used in movie making was named after Charles Rashleigh.

Charles Rashleigh bought himself a newly built house in St Austell (now the White Hart Hotel) and by 1774 it was not only his home, but his offices and bank used by the tenants of Menabilly Estate. Two years later he fell in love with Grace Tremayne of Heligan Manor and married her after an engagement of only four months. She was three years his senior and an heiress (whose parents were dead). She brought with her a settlement of £5000, plus tin shares and Heligan Manor with its considerable states. It was a quiet wedding in St Ewe church attended by only one brother and sister of Rashleigh.

What Charles Rashleigh did has been documented especially by Richard and Bridget Larn’s history of Charlestown, but why he did it is often a mystery. Two major mysteries overshadow his career.

The first concerns Joseph Dingle, who was part of his life for 45 years. Dingle an orphan was taken out of the workhouse at twelve years old by Rashleigh and another man and then apprenticed to a carpenter two years later. It is thought he lived in the domestic quarters at Rashleigh’s country house Duporth Manor and by 24 was Rashleigh’s personal servant. It was no ordinary master servant relationship. Rumours persisted that perhaps because Rashleigh had no son he took him under his wing, or perhaps homosexual connections.

Dingle being able, suggested that a harbour be built at Porthmear because the open beach had always been potentially lethal to ships loading and unloading in any sudden storm from the south. Rashleigh purchased the land and the great John Smeaton did the engineering, whilst Dingle took charge (including financial charge of the work). This included the construction of the pier for the harbour, the basin and the houses which gradually came to be called Charlestown not because it was Rashleigh’s wish, but because the name spontaneously arose.

This safe harbour produced wealth for its owner due to the usage by cargo of china clay (a growth industry) and locally mined copper ore (used in the industrial revolution).  From 1791 when the project began till 1805, Dingle’s stewardship seemed to be honest and conscientious, but then Dingle stopped presenting proper accounts (and ran up ever mounting debts) to Rashleigh. After numerous requests for the accounts Dingle still did nothing and so Rashleigh had no choice but to take him to court. Starting from Bodmin assizes, via two stages of a most unusual appeal process in which the original judge shamefully got involved on Dingle’s side and finally ending at the Court of Equity in London. These proceedings took years and bankrupted Dingle and crippled Rashleigh. He still had his income but his capital was gone and his losses to Dingle were irrecoverable.

The other mystery overshadowing Rashleigh’s final years is even harder to workout.  Rashleigh appeared to want his confidential clerk, Joseph Daniel appointed as a magistrate, but to be eligible, Daniel needed to be a property owner and so to fulfil that condition Rashleigh gave Daniel his own home Duporth Manor and its grounds. This was on the understanding that after his appointment to the bench Daniel would return the deeds and no money need change hands. Daniel did not honour this gentleman’s agreement and so Rashleigh’s hopeless pursuit in the courts for the return of his deeds brought him to total ruin. He did at any rate succeed in living on at Duporth until he died on March 9th 1823.

His funeral on 15th March was at his own wish, strictly private. He was buried next to his wife in the churchyard at St Austell. His will made what should have been plentiful provision for their three daughters, but there was now little to distribute. Joseph Daniel then sold Duporth.

One theory is that Daniel blackmailed Rashleigh into this legal conjuring trick, as the rules could easily have been bent if Rashleigh had made over any minor piece of his property – not the mansion and grounds that were his home. Or was it merely a case of breath taking naivete? Perhaps it was just that Rashleigh was a loner, kept the world at arm’s length (like his ultra-private wedding and funeral), and trusted his own judgement too much to the point of leaving himself open to betrayal by two good and faithful servants. He certainly appeared upstanding in society, he loved his wife and family, people spoke well of him, so it could simply be that he was a flawed person rather than a villain in dangerously thin disguise. It is at least odd that a scandal big enough to account for such goings on should also have been small enough to hide.

The History of Charles Rashleigh who owned Duporth Manor


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