History and Mystery

History and Mystery, Charlestown, England (A)

2 miles south east of St Austell Cornwall, England lies the pretty harbor village of Charlestown. The Cornish coast is steeped in history and is full of mystery and intrigue. Shipwrecks and piracy were very prevalent in days gone by.
Charlestown is a port developed by Charles Rashleigh who was a local land owner, he built the port between 1790 and 1810 for the export of china clay and copper from the area. The village was named after him.
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: History and Mystery
Guide Location: England » Charlestown
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1.0 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 Km or 0.5 Miles
Author: Annya Strydom
Author Bio: I have always been interested in travel and lived in four South African countries and also several in Europe, travelling extensively in all of them and others. Born in England now living in the USA. Also interested in writing am now writing an autobiography of my travels in Africa.
Author Website: http://www.travelade.net
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • St Paul's Church
  • Charlestown chapel
  • Rashleigh Arms
  • T'Gallant's guest house
  • Shipwreck and Heritage center
  • Harbor and Tall ships
  • Pier House
St Paul's Church

1) St Paul's Church

St Paul's church was built in 1851. It was then updated in 1971, when a fiberglass spire was added along with 6 new bells. The treble, or Noel bell as it is called, was named after Noel Coward the English playwright. Much later in 2006, the uncomfortable wooden pews were removed as they were also full of woodworm and more modern seating was put in.
Image Courtesy of Pam Brophy.
Charlestown chapel

2) Charlestown chapel

A lovely old stone building, Charlestown Chapel was built in 1829 and used as a Methodist chapel. It closed in 1998 and has not been used as a worship place since. There used to be an attached school room at the back of the building. Sadly it was all in great disrepair and in danger of falling down, but on my last visit I saw it had scaffolding on it and was being restored.
Image Courtesy of Ben Sutherland.
Rashleigh Arms

3) Rashleigh Arms

The Rashleigh Arms hotel offers a high standard of accommodation and excellent food using fresh produce and sea food caught locally. There is a cobbled terrace and a walled-in beer garden. The Inn was built in 1851 on old clay cellar foundations. The Inn is named after it's creator Charles Rashleigh, the car park is a grade two listed one, located on the site of an old coal storage yard. The hotel has managed to keep up with modern day demands, whilst retaining it's historical past.
Image Courtesy of Geoff Pick.
T'Gallant's guest house

4) T'Gallant's guest house

T’Gallant’s guest house is an impressive three storied building. A beautiful white washed Georgian house which was refurbished and now has seven double guest rooms. The name T’Gallant came from the top sails of the tall square rigged sailing ships that frequent the harbor. There is a tea garden outside the house where you can relax and look down towards the sea and inside is a small intimate restaurant. They serve a variety of fresh foods and wonderful afternoon cream teas.
Shipwreck and Heritage center

5) Shipwreck and Heritage center

Built in a historic china clay building, which houses a huge collection of artifacts and treasures retrieved from ships that had wrecked along the treacherous Cornish coasts and many from other locations. In the Heritage part of the museum, we see many life size models of men at work, like a coppersmith, blacksmith and others. In the shipwreck part, many photographs and artifacts depict the stories both of courage and of greed all of which took place in the days of piracy and ships that ran into trouble along the rocky coast. All around Briton’s coast there were over 250,000 wrecks. Directly outside the center is a full size working lifeboat. There is an excellent fully stocked gift shop where you can wander around and buy gifts of small ships, pottery, beads and other items to take back home. Round the corner from the shop, up some steps is the “Bosun’s Diner”, a good place to go for a Cornish cream tea, a Sunday carvery, or a good sea food meal of freshly caught fish. They also cater for wedding receptions.
Harbor and Tall ships

6) Harbor and Tall ships

The harbor has been the location for a number of films shot in Cornwall, such as ”Poldark”, a remake of the “Three Musketeers” and recently “Dr Who”. There are usually several Tall ships in the little harbor and in the summer it is possible to have a trip around the bay on one. This has always been the source of economy for the village with boatbuilding, pilchard curing and the exporting of china clay. It is still to some extent a working harbor, but has managed to retain the original charm and so far resisted development. The harbor plays host to many tourists visiting Cornwall each year and all around the village are tiny whitewashed cottages which one can rent during the summer.
Image Courtesy of gary radford.
Pier House

7) Pier House

The Pier house hotel is in a stunning location overlooking the harbor, it has been a hotel since 1920 and also it incorporates the Public house next door.

In 1794, the place was 2 farm cottages and later, after the Rashleigh was built, it was a farmhouse whose occupants decided to take in paying guests. The restaurant in the hotel offers an extensive menu and uses fresh produce and local seafood to create some mouthwatering dishes, they also cater for weddings and various functions.

On both sides of the harbor, cliffs rise up from the rocky coastline and offer walks over them to other small fishing villages. From the restaurant and the gardens one can often see people going up over the cliffs. It is an excellent place to stop and have a meal or just a cup of tea while you relax and watch passersby.

We now conclude our tour giving you an opportunity to relax or to go on another walk, thank you for joining me in this beautiful part of Cornwall.