David Wise Bain – The Richest Man in Cornwall

David Wise Bain is another contender for the Bain Hall of Fame. 

By 1889 David Wise Bain is said to be the Richest man in Cornwall


The family lived at Glenfeadon House, Portreath.


Gleanfeadon House of David Wise Bain

The rise of the Bain family

Up until 1886 Portreath harbour had been a private harbour owned by the Bassetts of Tehidy and leased to the Fox-William partnership in 1769, which eventually became just Williams & Co. In 1809 Donald Bain took the principal position at the Scorrier estate office of John Williams eventually being transferred to Portreath Harbour as chief cashier. By his death in 1850 he had gained a controlling interest in the harbour, which he passed on to his son David Wise Bain who became General Agent and Harbourmaster. He resided at Glenfeadon  and became one of the most successful merchants and ship owners in the West Country having built up the well known Bain fleet of coastal colliers, all sailing vessels which were gradually replaced by steam ships between 1887 and 1900. His son Frederick Bain took over from him, retiring in 1925.

Please see the attached document and the full story of David Wise Bain

Bain Family history 2 Portreath Harbour


David Wise Bain was descendant from the Caithness Bain’s in Wick.

Donald Bain b. 9 Mar. 1774* to Parents:-

Children born to Donald & Christine
William, son b. 25 Sep. 1767 Wick
James, son b. 20 Apr. 1770 Wick
Donald, 1774*
Christine, Dau. b. 31 Mar.1777 Wick
Barbara, Dau.b. 9 Oct. 1779 Wick

Donald Bain and Harriet Wise had 8 children –
1) Harriet Wise Bain, b. 5 July 1808, m. Richard Ivey from whom are descended the Ivey, Grove, Fairweather and James families;
2) Richard Bain, b. 24 April 1810, unmarried;
3) Catherine Bain, b. 2 Dec 1812, d. 19 Feb 1819;
4) Mary Elizabeth Bain, b. 2 June 1816, m. Richard Sincock from whom are descended the Sincock and Power families;
5) Catherine Bain, b. 1820, m. John Ball Smith;
6) Donald Bain, b. 31 Aug 1823, m. Amelia Richards from whom are descended the Smith, Canning and Fleming families;
7) John Bain, b. 8 Nov 1825, unmarried;
8) David Wise Bain, b.28 Aug 1829, m. Eliza Hitchins – they had 13 children some of whom died young.


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