- "I lost sight of something. I came in search of it. Having found it, I’m going home."
- —Ross Poldark about his return to Cornwall
Ross Poldark was the Master of Nampara House and the Owner of Wheal Leisure and Wheal Grace. He was also the husband of Demelza Poldark with whom he had two children, the late Julia Poldark and Jeremy Poldark.
In 1780, Ross was arrested for brawling. He joined the British Army to escape imprisonment. He was sent to the Revolutionary War even though he believed that their part in it was wrong.
When he played cards with friends, they were attacked and Ross was knocked out. Dwight Enys had to patch up his face, which was permanently scarred.
Ross 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.
Ross is shot in the ankle during a battle, but it is not enough to permanently affect his gait. He also receives a sword slash to his face, giving him his scar. He is released from service shortly thereafter.
Ross returned to England in 1783 and headed to Cornwall to reunite with Elizabeth and his family.
While in a carriage, Ross pretended to sleep while others talked about him and his family. He found out that everyone thought he had died, and people thought very little of him and his father, who had since died. Ross then woke up and enquired about what happened. She told him that his father died six months ago and pretends to be sorry. Ross then decided to walk to Trenwith.
He arrived at Trenwith while his family are having a meal. They were both surprised and happy to see him. He finds out Francis is engaged and congratulates him, asking him who he is engaged to. Mrs Chynoweth then told him that Francis was engaged to Elizabeth, the woman Ross loved, who then walked in the room. Ross is shocked and disappointed. He then found out his father has left him very little inheritance due to his lack of knowledge for business and that mines have started closing in Cornwall, leaving no work.
Master of Nampara
Ross returned to his family home, Nampara. He found it in ruin, and the family servants, Jud and Prudie living there. The next day, he asked them to clean the house while he attends to his father's grave and meets with other old friends and tenants who happily greeted him and offered to help rebuild Nampara for free. However, Ross declined and stated since they are already working for his uncle for a small amount of pay, it would be too much for them. Ross then made a trip to his banker, Harris Pascoe to find out what has happened to his father's estate.
He was told that the inheritance includes Nampara, a couple of derelict mines and a few cottages. The land is fallow and heavily mortgaged, his father has left debts and there is nothing making any profits. He says he would love to help, but the land is not worth trying to save and that he should head somewhere else to start anew and make a fortune.
Ross later met Verity Poldark, who told him that Francis and Elizabeth only got together recently and would be marrying in a fortnight. Ross made a joke about how he thinks Elizabeth only agreed to marry Francis for his wealth. Verity apologises for the mess that Ross has returned home to but he needs to find a way out of it on his own.
Ross returned home and starts trying to repair Nampara, building fences and preparing the land for crops. He attended a gathering with the tenants before Francis visited to see how he is doing and whether he will be attending the wedding. At the time, Ross was visiting one of the mines he was left. Francis says they were concerned about him, including Charles, and wanted to encourage him to move on and build a new home elsewhere. Francis says he is sorry that he is with Elizabeth now, but they thought he had died and they fell in love. Ross gets angry and starts shouting at Francis which made Francis slip and fall into the water. Ross debated whether to help Francis but then decided to.
Ross attended the wedding of Francis and Elizabeth, remembering the time he and Elizabeth were together. Verity explained that an old school friend, George Warleggan is now an ambitious young banker. The reception was held at Trenwith, where Elizabeth tried to talk to Ross. She is surprised he never spoke to her when he returned but Ross says there was no formal recognition for their relationship so they should move on. Elizabeth wants to stay friends but Ross didn't seem to want to be.
Later on, Ross listens 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 and that while one Poldark rises, another will fall because all is fair in love and war. Charles took it to heart, and tells Ross he is sorry that he got a better deal in life than his brother. He wants to help Ross move on with his life and stated he should move away and build a new life. However, Ross decided he needs to stay and try to save his land. Charles says he is being stubborn and that he's got nothing to stay for. Ross left him.
One day, Ross decided to go to town for market day to sell his father's pocketwatch. He took a stroll only to happen 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 saved her. He takes her for a meal and they talk, with her telling him that her name is Demelza Carne. She left home to flee her abusive father. Ross offered her work at Nampara being a scullery maid. She agreed and he took her and her dog home.
The next day, Ross decided to talk his uncle but found Elizabeth instead. They argued about how they loved each other and now she is someone else's wife. She says she is sorry and that it really hurt her to think how he feels and that he must hate her now. Ross says that she was the only person for him and that he thought about her the entire journey home. He wanted to know whether they really meant anything to her, and Elizabeth says she did think about him but she thought he died. She asks him why he is only telling her these things now when he should have told her before she got married. She says it's too late now and that he needs to forget about her and move on. Ross left her but she says she would love for them to part as friends. Ross tells her they may never be friends and that she should tell his uncle he is about to get his wish - he will be leaving for good.
When he got home, Ross told Prudie to send Demelza home because he will be leaving. Prudie then told him that Demelza's father, Tom, had already 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 help Ross fight Tom. Fortunately, they made Tom and his group flee.
Seeing everyone fight for him, Ross decided he needed to stay in Cornwall. While speaking with Prudie, Ross says that he thinks Demelza is more trouble that she is worth and that Prudie should try to persuade Demelza to go home. Demelza heard him and runs away but Ross has a change of heart and follows her. He persuades her to stay and they returned to Nampara.
Ross started to try to find a way to salvage the family mines. Jud told him that mining is in his blood but he thinks only a fool would try to. However, Ross continued with the idea. He returned the money his uncle gave him to start anew and Charles did not seem shocked by it. They talked about how Lord Bassett killed himself that day because of debt he owed from his mines to the Warleggans and that Charles owes debt to them from his mines too.
On the way home, Ross met tenants of Nampara and they tolf him they would love to work for him on his mines when he gets it going. They say Charles pays them terribly. Ross says he won't promise anything but that they may work for him if he succeeds.
When Francis visited him, he tells Ross that he is happy he is staying. Ross says he is more determined to open a mine because he wants to help the people who don't have work now that Lord Bassett has died. Francis says he doesn't actually know anything about mining, even though he owns one too, and that Charles wouldn't trust him with it anyway. Ross then the ld Francis that he thinks they should open the new mine together, but Francis declines.
Ross visited Harris Pascoe again and says he wants to open a mine but that he is lacking in things such as capital, assets or knowledge. Harris says that Ross will need to find investors to fund the idea.
Verity visited Ross at Nampara to ask him to escort her to a local dance. He agreed and while there, he tried to secure investments. He knows he still has an old and valued name, despite what people think of him and his father. He dances with Elizabeth which upset Francis and made everyone, including George Warleggan, talk about how neither have moved on. Verity later tells Ross to move on from Elizabeth.
When Charles visited Nampara, Ross tells him about the mining idea he is exploring. Charles thinks he needs to slow down and think but then the Poldarks rarely do. He believed it may also be their salvation. Charles tells him that Francis may be involved if he wants to, because he needs to learn how it works for when he inherits them. Ross says he is visiting his banker the next day to set something up but they needed to keep their plans quiet.
The next day, Ross took Demelza with him into town. Ross meets with potential investors and succeeds in his plans to set up Wheal Leisure.
Verity visits Ross and asks him to help her so she can keep meeting Andrew Blamey, who she met at the dance. Ross agrees that she may meet Andrew at Nampara. However, Charles and Francis found out, and even though Ross tried to make them see they have misjudged Andrew, Francis still tries to find Andrew. Francis challenges Andrew to a duel despite Ross and Verity's attempts to stop them. Ross then decided he wants no part in the matter.
When Francis was wounded in the duel, Ross carried him to Nampara where Demelza helped Ross save Francis. Elizabeth appeared and shouted at Ross for letting Francis die, when Ross tells her Francis will be fine. However, while Elizabeth is then grateful, Charles told Ross he thinks him to be a disappointment and says it is his fault that the duel happened. Elizabeth then revealed to Ross that she is pregnant with Francis's child. Ross is saddened by the news, and gives Demelza the chance to return home to her family but she still wanted to stay.
A few months later, Ross attended the re-opening of Wheal Leisure. The party is attended by the new workers who have 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 has since forgiven Ross for the part the played in the matter of Verity and Andrew.
Ross found out a young miner, Jim Carter, had been poaching food to feed his family and had gotten his girlfriend, Jinny, pregnant. Ross decided to help make his life better by persuading them to marry and gave them a cottage but made Jim promise not to poach anymore. At the wedding reception, Ross watched Demelza happily dance, before joining in.
When Prudie hurt her wrist, Demelza stepped in to make a meal for Ross which he enjoyed. He joked that he hopes Prudie's wrist stayed the way it is for a while yet. Ross later attended a reception to honour the birth of Geoffrey Charles Poldark at Trenwith. Ross managed to hide his feelings for Elizabeth and talked with her.
Ross returned to Nampara where he asked Demelza to dine with him. Demelza tells him that Jinny visited earlier that day to tell her that Jim is still poaching when he said he would stop. Ross says he will have a word with him and give him a better job. He also praises Demelza for her work.
When Ross foynd out that Jim was arrested when he decided to go on one final expedition, he tried to persuade the court to be fair and let him go. Unfortunately, he fails so Ross gets angry and tells the judge that the law is wrong, and leaves.
When Ross returned home upset, he confided in Demelza until he notices she is wearing his late mother's dress that she found. When he notices, he gets angry with her for going through his things until they suddenly kiss. Ross stopped it going any further, telling Demelza he didn't give her a place at Nampara for her to be his mistress. He goes to his room, but Demelza followed him and asked him to help her undo her dress, and they sleep together.
The next day, Ross woke up to find Demelza out. Elizabeth arrived and they talk about Wheal Leisure, the Warleggans, and when Demelza returned, Elizabeth felt awkward and seemed to think there is something going on between them. Demelza fled, having decided she couldn't keep working at Nampara in light of what happened, but Ross decided to stop her and proposed to her. They then marry, with Jud and Prudie as guests.
The news of Ross and Demelza's marriage is not celebrated by a lot of people. Jud and Prudie seemed unhappy that the kitchen maid is now the Mistress of Nampara. When Ross told Francis, he was surprised that he had married somone beneath him in society, and he believed that his wife may make him unwelcome in polite society. Elizabeth is shocked, her mother thinks society would never forgive him, while Charles was disappointed. He even had to explain the marriage to the investors of Wheal Leisure, who think he is reckless. Only Verity wrote to Ross of her joy, and promised to visit them soon.
Ross is quite content with married life, and brings Demelza presents, even though she was worried and struggling with her new role. He asked Demelza to visit him at the mine, and she reluctantly agreed. Even though it went well, she decides she won't be going again. To make her feel better, Ross decided to let Demelza pick her own servant, and she chose Jinny.
When Charles had a heart attack, Ross visited him at Trenwith. Charles says he thinks Francis is secretly glad that he married Demelza, because it makes the chances of him stealing Elizabeth away less. Charles then had another heart attack. Realising he needed to say goodbye to his family, Charles told Ross that he believes Francis is not going to do very well at looking after their family, so Charles asked Ross to look after them, and Francis, himself. Ross promised, and Charles passes away.
Some time later, Verity visited Ross and Demelza. Ross is delighted to see her, and Verity says she is grateful that Ross followed his heart, and doesn't mind that Demelza is not from high society.
At Wheal Leisure, the effort to find copper is proving fruitless. Ross needed to find further investment to keep digging. They kept finding ironstone, which may mean they will find copper soon but the investors don't seem to be very keen. The miner still has enough to keep going until Christmas, but Ross found a way to keep it going until a week after so that the miners may take leave for the week of Christmas.
Ross and Demelza recieved an invitation to spend Christmas at Trenwith which they accepted despite Demelza's worry that things wouldn't go well. When they arrived, Verity greeted them. They meet with the family, where Agatha awkwardly tried to weigh Demelza up to Elizabeth.
At the meal on Christmas Eve, the Warleggans showed up. They tell Ross he is a strange recluse, and when Demelza went upstairs to put on her new dress, they made fun of her. When Demelza joined them, Ross introduced her to everyone and was very proud of her. The Warleggans kept making fun of them, especially Demelza and Wheal Leisure. 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, to his joy. Their daughter, Julia Poldark, was born some time after. Ross loved Julia deeply, and promised to make the world a better place for her.
Ross and his company were very unhappy with the low price of copper from the smelting companies, and they decided to create their own. When George found out, he outbid the company and closed them. Ross was later upset to find out George has found the names of the partners who invested in his mine, when George called in their debt and managed to buy shares.
When Demelza and Julia became unwell, Ross asked his old friend, Dwight, to care for them. He was devastated when Dwight told him Julia was dying, and Ross stayed with her until she passed away. Ross was annoyed when he found out how George found the names, who had decided to celebrate by buying a ship. The ship sank, and Ross led the rescue of the many of the passengers and crew. However, mineworkers plundered the goods, something which George manipulated to have Ross arrested for wrecking and murder.