A care worker has inherited one of Britain’s finest country estates after a DNA test proved he was the illegitimate son of the aristocratic owner who died there.
Jordan Adlard Rogers, 31, from Helston in Cornwall, has moved in to the lavish 1536-acre National Trust Penrose Estate, estimated to be worth £50m, after the death of 62-year-old Charles Rogers.
The community support worker had suspicions the aristocrat was his father from the age of eight but a DNA test was not carried out until Charles’ death 23 years later.
Despite his father offering to complete a DNA test when he was younger it didn’t happen and when Jordan was 18 he was told to go through a solicitor.
But, when Charles was found dead in his car on the estate in August 2018 at the age of 62, a test was finally carried out that confirmed they were related.
Jordan Adlard Rogers, 31, from Helston, Cornwall, says he had spent several years trying to prove Charles Rogers was his real father
And, with Charles’ mother and brother also having passed away, Jordan was left as heir to the grand estate.
He has now moved in and said he is immersing himself in his new way of life and his newfound family’s history.
The Rogers family have lived on the site between Helston and Porthleven in Cornwall for generations, gifting it to the National Trust in 1974 in exchange for a 1,000-year lease to continue living there.
Jordan, who has now left his job as a community support worker to live off the proceeds of the estate, said he can’t believe how much his life has changed since the DNA test came back positive.
He said: ‘He offered to do a DNA test when I was younger but it didn’t happen and then when I was 18 I knocked on his door and asked if I could have the test and he told me to do it through the solicitors. I was 18 so had other priorities at the time.
He has now moved into the estate and said he is immersing himself in his new way of life and his newfound family’s history
Jordan, who has recently had a son with his partner Katie, said he has learned of a number of factors that he believes resulted in his father’s descent into drug addiction. Pictured, the house on Penrose Estate
‘I wrote more letters in my twenties but never got a reply, then three years ago I got in contact with power of attorney Philip Care.
‘Philip said Charles didn’t want to do the test so I wrote one final letter with a DNA test kit enclosed and that was when Philip rang and told me Charles was dead.’
Penrose Manor House
The current Grade II listed manor consists of an irregular square plan ranged around a small courtyard with 17th-century U-shaped plan front to the northwest.
It’s current value is unknown but the estate as a whole is estimated to be worth £50million.
The 17th-century country house was constructed for the Penrose family, probably for John Penrose who died in 1679.
It was remodelled and extended from c. 1788 for John Rogers and c. 1832 for the Reverend John Rogers.
It was again extended 1863 by William Webb for John Jope Rogers and then remodelled in 1867.
A buttery was added in 1868 and the centre of the elevation towards Loe Pool rebuilt in 1927–28.
Jordan, who once broke his back in a trampoline stunt-gone-wrong that went viral, said he had to deal with some obstructive family members but he was finally able to get the test completed and Charles was confirmed as his father.
He added: ‘I’m now starting to get my feet under the table here. People say I’m lucky but I would trade anything to be able to go back and for Charles to know I was his son. Maybe then he might have taken a different path.
‘I don’t need to work anymore so want to set up a charity and help the Porthleven and Helston communities.
‘I’ve been at the point of worrying about the next bill and have had a tough start in life but now I’m here I want to help people.
‘I’m not going to forget where I’ve come from.’
An inquest last week heard how Charles had struggled with drug abuse for many years and died of an overdose in his car outside his Grade-II listed farmhouse on the historic estate.
The inquest, held in Truro, heard how there were no suspicious circumstances and that Charles had overdosed on a prescription drug.
Jordan Adlard Rogers’ dad Charles Rogers, who passed away before he confirmed they were related
He was reportedly malnourished, neglected personal hygiene and rarely changed his clothes in the months leading up to his death.
Instead of living in his lavish home, Charles was sleeping in his car.
The coroner was told the life tenant of the estate receives an income from a trust, and Charles was given a ‘substantial’ cash allowance ranging from £300 to £1,000 a week.
Jordan, who bears a striking resemblance to his father, said he decided to speak out to give a fuller picture of his father’s life before he died.
Jordan said he had to deal with some obstructive family members but he was finally able to get the test completed and Charles was confirmed as his father
Jordan, who once broke his back in a trampoline stunt-gone-wrong that went viral, said he had to deal with some obstructive family members but he was finally able to get the test completed and Charles was confirmed as his father
He said: ‘I haven’t been here long and don’t know all the ins and outs but have been able to piece some of the puzzle together.
‘Charles never actually lived in the estate. He lived in one of the estate’s farmhouses as his mum lived here so he never got the chance to inherit it.
‘They died two weeks apart.
‘It’d got to the point when he gave up on himself and was living in his car instead of his house as it was such a mess.
‘The Rogers family gave the National Trust 46 cottages and a couple of farms and now the Rogers Family Trust produces income for the life tenant.’
Jordan, who has recently had a son with his partner Katie, said he has learned of a number of factors that he believes resulted in his father’s descent into drug addiction.
Jordan, who bears a striking resemblance to his father, said he decided to speak out to give a fuller picture of his father’s life before he died
‘There was always a pressure of him trying to match expectation,’ he added. ‘His brother was a RAF pilot and his Dad a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy so he had big shoes to fill. He was under huge pressure taking it on, but he was different and a free spirit.
‘Charles served in the Army in Northern Ireland and I think this affected him greatly along with the death of his brother Nigel from cancer who he was very close to.’
The estate makes money from investments in stocks and shares and renting a number of parcels of land to local farmers.
Jordan’s plans also extend to holding a charity garden party in the grounds of his new home.
On social media he shows off a top Mercedes motor, £300 Adidas Predator footy boots and his own outdoor gym – set up on the outside tennis courts.
And he has posted pics of himself in a canoe, writing: ‘Out patrolling the lake #penrose.’
Jordan has also jetted off to New York with girlfriend Katie, quit his job and now rakes in a cash allowance of up to £52,000 a year.
But what about the history of the Penrose Manor House and Estate?
It is thought the 1,537 acres of the Penrose Manor House and Estate are haunted, according to local legend.
A family called the Penroses acquired the estate in the 1200s.
And when Ralph Penrose’s wife died 300 years ago he took his cousin William out to sea before they were accidentally shipwrecks, the legend says.
William’s brother John watched but did nothing to help before ordering the murder of the surviving son.
William, who had lost his memory after the shipwreck, later remembered what had happened. John was forced to hang himself when his crime was uncovered.
They are both thought to haunt the estate.
In 1771 the Rogers bought it from the Penrose family for £11,000 and were nicknamed The Squire Rogers.
It was used as a base by British and US forced during World War Two.
In 1974 Lieutenant Commander John Peverell Rogers gifted the estate to the National Trust but retained the right to live on the grounds with a 1,000-year lease.
It is surrounded by Loe Pool, which is Cornwall’s largest natural freshwater lake.
The four miles of coast are said to be where King Arthur was killed.