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Charlestown

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Charlestown is a village and port on the south coast of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, and in the civil parish of St Austell Bay. It is situated approximately 2mi south east of St Austell town centre.The port at Charlestown developed in the late-18th century from the fishing village of West Polmear. Whereas other areas of St Austell have seen much development during the 20th century, Charlestown has remained relatively unchanged.HistoryCharlestown grew out of the small fishing village of West Polmear, which consisted of a few cottages and three cellars, in which the catch of pilchards were processed. The population amounted to nine fishermen and their families in 1790. Before the harbour was built, trading vessels landed and loaded on the beach. Charles Rashleigh who moved to Duporth Manor, just outside the village, used plans prepared by John Smeaton to begin the construction of a harbour and dock in 1791. After building the outer pier, he excavated a natural inlet to form the main dock and a shipyard at its inner end that demolished when the dock was extended. The first dock gates were completed in 1799. To maintain water levels in the dock, a leat was constructed, which brought water from the Luxulyan Valley, some 4mi away.Rashleigh also planned the village, which had a broad road running from the harbour to Mount Charles. In 1793, a gun battery was built to the west of the harbour mouth, as a defence against possible French attacks. Volunteers from Rashleigh's estate formed an artillery company that lasted until 1860, when the original four 18-pound cannons were replaced by 24-pound models. The Crinnis Cliff Volunteers became the Cornwall Artillery Volunteers, and the battery continued to be used for practice until 1898. In 1799 the locals asked his permission to rename the place Charles's Town which became Charlestown.
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