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"I lost sight of something. I came in search of it. Having found it, I’m going home."
—Ross Poldark

The Honourable Captain Ross Vennor Poldark, Member of Parliament for Truro was the landowner of Nampara and the owner of Wheal Leisure and Wheal Grace.

He was also the husband of Demelza Poldark with whom he had five children, the late Julia Poldark, Jeremy and Clowance, Bella and Henry Poldark.

Biography

Early life

Ross and Elizabeth before he left Cornwall

Ross Vennor Poldark was born in 1760 to Joshua and Grace Poldark (née Vennor). He had a younger brother, Claude Poldark who died in 1771. Grace had died a year earlier.[1]

Ross grew up in Nampara. He was an old school friend of George Warleggan. His uncle, Charles Poldark, owned Trenwith. At some point, he met Elizabeth Chynoweth and fell in love.[2]

Revolutionary War

In 1780, Ross was arrested for brawling and joined the British Army to escape execution. He was an Ensign sent to the Revolutionary War. He spoke to Elizabeth before he was taken to America, and he promised he would be back soon and he wouldn't forget her. He took her ring and put it on his finger, and she told him to be careful. He was still wearing the ring when he got home.[2]

He fought in the war for three years, even though he thought that the British involvement in it was wrong, and even told his infantry of this. He was thought to be a lost cause by a Captain and Lieutenant.[2]

In 1781, he was playing cards in Virginia when the infantry was attacked. Ross was knocked out when he was given a sword slash to his face.[2] Ned Despard found him and took him to Dr. Dwight Enys who had to patch up his face, which was permanently scarred. Ned had told Dwight not to lose this one. Ross woke up later, and he was told by Ned that the war hadn't ended for him yet, and he was now a Captain.[3]

Because of what took place that day and the fact they couldn't communicate, Ross's family and friends thought he was dead. Ross headed back to Cornwall in 1783 when the war ended.[2]

1783 - 1790

Heading home

Ross pretended to sleep in a carriage and heard others talking about him and his family. He found out that everyone thought he had died, and they had a low opinion of him and his father, who had since died. Ross then woke up and asked what happened, and then decided to walk to Trenwith.[2]

The family in Trenwith were having a dinner for Elizabeth's engagement to Francis Poldark. They were both surprised and happy to see him, and he found out Francis was engaged and congratulated him. He asked him who he was engaged to and he was upset to hear it was Elizabeth. He then found out his father had left him very little inheritance due to his business failings and that mines had started closing in Cornwall, leaving no work.[2]

Meeting with Harris Pascoe

Ross headed back to his family home, Nampara. He found it in ruins and the family servants, Jud and Prudie living there. The next day, he asked them to clean the house when he tended to his father's grave. He spoke to friends and tenants, who happily greeted him and offered to help rebuild Nampara for free. However, Ross declined because they earned a low wage.[2]

Ross then made a trip to his banker, Harris Pascoe to find out what had happened to his father's estate. He was told that the inheritance included Nampara, a couple of derelict mines and a few cottages. Everything was in debt, and nothing was making any profit. He was advised the land was not worth trying to save, and that he should head somewhere else to start anew and make a fortune.[2]

Ross later spoke to Verity Poldark, who apologised for what Ross had returned home to, but that he needed to find a way out of it on his own. He returned home and started trying to repair Nampara, building fences and preparing the land for crops. He then headed to a mine, where Francis apologised for Elizabeth and told Ross they were concerned about him. Francis wanted to encourage him to move on and build a new home elsewhere. Ross got angry about it and started shouting at Francis, which made Francis slip and fall into the water, and he debated leaving Francis.[2]

Ross attended the wedding of Francis and Elizabeth, remembering the time he and Elizabeth were together. Verity explained that George Warleggan was now an ambitious young banker. Elizabeth tried to talk to Ross at the reception, but Ross told her there was no formal recognition of their relationship anyway and they implied they couldn't be friends.[2]

Later on, Ross listened to Aunt Agatha reading tarot cards for the family. She told them a dire reading, and that the Poldarks would be set against the fair in love and war, and that while one Poldark would rise, another would fall. Charles took it to heart, and told Ross he was sorry that he got a better deal in life than Joshua. He wanted to help Ross and thought he should build a new life elsewhere. However, Ross decided he needed to stay and try to save his land and Charles thought he was being stubborn.[2]

Helping Demelza

Ross decided to go to town for market day to sell his father's pocket-watch and happened upon a group of people watching a dog fight. Someone then attempted to stop them and claimed they stole her dog. The group then attack her, until Ross stepped in and saves her. He took her for a meal and there he found out her name was Demelza Carne, who had escaped her abusive father. Ross offered her work at Nampara, as a scullery maid. She agreed and he took her and her dog home.[2]

Ross and Elizabeth later argued about how they loved each other and now she was some one else's wife. She was sorry, and upset to think how hurt he was. She thought that he probably hated her now. Ross said that she was the only person for him and that he thought about her the entire journey home. She asked him why he was only telling her these things now when he should have told her before she got married, and that she would love for them to part as friends. Ross told her they may never be friends and that she should tell his uncle he was about to get his wish—he would be leaving for good.[2]

Ross told Prudie to send Demelza home because he would be leaving, but her father, Tom showed up. Tom told Ross to leave her alone and stop trying to save and seduce her. A fight then started and Tom sent for his group of friends to help him. Jud went to get help from the tenants, who helped Ross fight Tom and win. He then decided to stay in Cornwall. Ross thought Demelza was bringing trouble and told Prudie to persuade Demelza to go home. Demelza heard him and ran away but Ross had a change of heart and followed her. He persuaded her to stay.[2]

Mining venture

Ross then began focusing on salvaging the family mines, even though people thought it was foolish. He told his uncle and they spoke about how he was in debt to the Warleggan family, who had caused Lord Bassett to kill himself that day because of debt.[4]

Ross later told miners who wanted to work for him, that he could not promise anything but that they may work for him if he succeeded. He was now determined to open a mine because he wanted to help the people who didn't have work now that Lord Bassett had died. Francis was happy Ross was staying. Ross told Francis they should open a new mine together, but Francis declined.[4]

Ross visited Harris Pascoe again and said he wants to open a mine but that he was lacking in things such as capital, assets or knowledge. Harris said that Ross would need to find investors to fund the venture and he used a local dance to do so. He and Elizabeth danced which upset Francis. Charles thought Ross needed to slow down in the mining venture, but that Francis could be involved if he wanted to in order to learn.[4]

Ross eventually succeeded in finding investment to set up Wheal Leisure. He helped Verity by letting her use Nampara to see Andrew Blamey, because Charles and Francis disapproved. Ross tried to make them see they had misjudged Andrew, but Francis challenged Andrew to a duel and he was wounded. Charles held Ross responsible, and Ross was upset to hear Elizabeth was pregnant.[4]

Wheal Leisure

In 1794, Ross attended the re-opening of Wheal Leisure. The party was attended by the new workers who had given up their place at his uncle's mine to work there. However, people talked at the party about the status of Ross and Demelza's relationship and whether they were together even though they were not married. Charles had since forgiven Ross for the part the played in helping Verity and Andrew.[5]

Ross found out a young miner, Jim Carter, had been poaching food to feed his family and had gotten his girlfriend, Jinny pregnant. Ross and Zacky Martin persuaded them to marry and gave them a cottage but made Jim promise not to poach anymore. Ross later attended a reception to honour the birth of Geoffrey Charles Poldark.[5]

He and Demelza continued to grow closer and he asked Demelza to dine with him. Demelza told him that Jinny visited earlier that day to tell her that Jim was still poaching when he said he would stop. Ross persuaded Jim to stop, but found out that he was arrested due to a final poaching job. Ross was unable to persuade the court to be fair, and Jim was sentenced to prison for two years.[5]

Ross was angry when he got home and found Demelza going through his things, until they suddenly kissed. Ross stopped it going any further, but Demelza followed him and asked him to help her undo her dress and they slept together. The next day, he spoke to Elizabeth who had arrived, and when Demelza returned, Elizabeth felt awkward and Demelza fled. Ross decided to stop her and proposed to her. They were soon married.[5]

Early marriage

The news of Ross and Demelza's marriage was not celebrated because he had married someone beneath him in society, and few thought that his wife may make him unwelcome in polite society. Elizabeth was shocked, Charles was disappointed, and he explain things to the investors of Wheal Leisure. But Verity was grateful Ross followed his heart.[6]

Ross was quite content with married life and brought Demelza presents. She was worried and struggling to find her place in the upper class, and thought Ross didn't love her. He asked Demelza to visit him at the mine, and to make her feel better, he decided to let Demelza pick her own servant. Charles soon had two heart attacks, and asked Ross before he died, to keep their family together and help Francis because he was a better man. Ross promised, and Charles passed away.[6]

The effort to find copper at Wheal Leisure was failing. Ross needed to find further investment to keep digging. He and Demelza spent the holidays at Trenwith and at dinner, he proudly introduced her to everyone but the Warleggans kept making fun of them. The next day, copper was finally found at Wheal Leisure. Ross finally told Demelza that he loved her, and she told him that she was pregnant.[6]

Their daughter, Julia Poldark, was born some time after. Ross loved Julia deeply, and promised to make the world a better place for her.[7]

Failure of Wheal Leisure

Ross was unhappy when he found out that George had purchased shares in Wheal Leisure. Dwight was now in Cornwall and Ross told him that smelting companies were working together to keep the price of copper low, causing low wages and miner riots. He thought the miners needed to work together to end the problem.[7]

The miners thought Ross was correct and at the next auction when copper was sold for a low price again, they organised a secret meeting to implement a plan to create their own smelting company. Ross agreed to help because he wanted to go down fighting, but Francis wouldn't get involved because it was Ross's idea.[7] Their first auction was a success but the Warleggan backed South Wales Smelting Company was suspicious.[8]

Ross later launched a rescue to get Jim Carter out of prison. He took Dwight to help but it was too late to save him and he died. In grief and anger, Ross decided he and Demelza wouldn't attend a ball held by the Warleggan family but Verity later persuaded him to go. Ross ended up getting drunk and involved in a game of cards against George and Matthew Sanson to win back Wheal Grambler for Francis.[8]

He upset a judge and Demelza, before gambling Wheal Leisure and won by proving Sanson was cheating.[8] Ross was concerned when heard Dwight and Keren Daniel were getting romantically involved and warned him about her husband, Mark Daniel finding out. Ross soon heard that Mark had accidentally killed Keren and helped him escape punishment, avoiding getting captured by soldiers in the process.[9]

George had begun searching for who was behind the rogue smelting company and Francis told George in a rage about Ross, and gave the name of every investor in Wheal Leisure. Ross and Francis had an argument about Verity's elopement, because Francis thought he was responsible. George called in the investor's debts and outbid the company at auction, forcing it to close down.[9]

Loss of Julia

Demelza and Julia fell sick due to the putrid throat because Demelza helped a sick Elizabeth, in an effort to salvage their broken family now that Ross and Francis had argued. Ross asked Dwight to care for them, and told him that Julia was dying. Ross held Julia when she passed away. He later buried her.[9]

In that time, George had purchased a ship in celebration of ruining Ross's company. In grief about Julia, Ross wandered in a storm and watched it sink. Ross led a successful rescue effort, but mine workers plundered the goods, and George manipulated what Ross done to get him arrested for wrecking and murder. He headed home to Demelza beforehand, and told Elizabeth she better hope Demelza survived. She does and he had to tell her about Julia's death, bringing her Julia's bracelet.[9]

1790 - 1793

Trial

Ross was later arrested for wrecking, inciting a riot and murder.[9]

Behind the scenes

  • Ross probably would have served in the Northern Theatre during the final three years of the Revolutionary War, primarily in New York. He mentioned that he served in the 52nd foot, or infantry.

Notes and sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 See this image of the Poldark family tree by Winston Graham
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Poldark, Season 1, Episode 1
  3. Poldark, Season 5, Episode 1
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Poldark, Season 1, Episode 2
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Poldark, Season 1, Episode 3
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Poldark, Season 1, Episode 4
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Poldark, Season 1, Episode 5
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Poldark, Season 1, Episode 6
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Poldark, Season 1, Episode 7
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