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Our Story

A short history of the Maenporth Estate

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  • 1248

    First evidence of a house on the grounds of Maenporth Estate. It was originally the summer house built in the pleasure grounds of Rosemerryn House.

  • 1836

    The grounds were sold to the Fox family of Glendurgan. Thanks to a storm delaying sailing from Falmouth about this time, Barclay Fox met a man called John Sterling and became friends.

  • 1840s

    John Sterling and his wife both died. Their daughters – Julia and Hester – continued their friendship with Barclay Fox’s sisters. Both their portraits can be found in the National Portrait Gallery's collections.

  • 1860s

    Caroline Fox provided a home for Julia and Hester at The Summer House, adding a studio as they were artists who enjoyed painting.

  • 1872

    Julia and Hester Sterling commission the architect, Alfred Waterhouse, to design ‘The Crag’ – a house perched on the cliff above Maenporth. He also designed the Natural History Museum in London.

  • 1899

    Julia and Hester in the original gardens. 

  • 1911

    After the death of both Julia and Hester, their neice Florence inherited the Estate and placed it up for auction. The Crag and surrounding land did not sell; it had a reserve price of £7,650 with surrounding land, or £4,500 without.

    Eventually, the Black family bought the Estate. They had plantations in Sri Lanka producing tea, coffee and rubber. From there, they shipped workers and plants to Maenporth.

  • WW2

    Like many large houses, The Crag was commandeered by the forces during the War and used to house soldiers who were training in the area.

  • 1945

    After the war, The Crag became a hotel.

  • 1950

    At around the same time, the cafe was developed on the beach.

  • 1960s

    The Seahorse Inn was built at the bottom of the hill.

  • 1981

    On 1st December 1981 The Crag went up in flames. Seven fire engines attended the blaze, even pumping water up from the nearby lake. The Falmouth Packet said 'flames surging up to 80 feet could be seen lighting up the night sky.' Thankfully no one was hurt.

    According to the Packet 80% of the hotel was damaged and The Crag remained in ruins for much of the 1980s.

  • 1986

    Pilkington glass maufacturers, looking to diversify into leisure, bought the Estate and planning permission was granted for their plans of a new holiday complex of 90 homes. The local press reported the view of some nearby residents as the 'Birth of a Monster?' however most people welcomed the development.

    An artists' impression displays the vision of the development.

  • 1987

    The remains of The Crag hotel were demolished and building began on the first of many phases - The Ridges.

  • 2002

    Total completion of the Maenporth Estate, after over fifteen years of planning and building.

  • 2004

    Pilkington's sold the freehold to the owners, as it remains today.

  • Today

    Maenporth Estate from the air looking out to sea.