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The old Forge, Cockington

The old Forge, Cockington - time for a ride around the village?

©Richard J. Brine


Most of the people who visit Cockington go to see a charming but frozen  view of the past - cottages and their gardens, horse and carts, thatched roofs and a quaint old church and, after viewing all these delights, enjoying a very nice tea served in the Squire's old home at Cockington Court or visiting the Drum Inn - which presents a carefully sanitised view of what a traditional British pub ought to be like, and was designed by one of our country's greatest architects - Sir Edwin Lutyens.


Difficult or unpleasant things about village life, such as ash pit sanitation or the visit of the pig killer or the constant drudgery  involved in fetching water sufficient for everyday tasks, are carefully hidden from view and  focus is on the picturesque - not easy today when the estate is now owned by the Council!


The Drum Inn Blue Badge

The Drum Inn Cockington

©Richard J. Brine

The Blue Badge

Richard J. Brine








Once you turn out of the main street and enter the grounds of Cockington Court it gets far more convincing as an old English village. Look ahead of you and the Court House itself is visible with a great sweep of green before it  - the HQ of a village cricket club founded by a previous Squire, practices and plays  its matches here and in the backgound, nice and close to Squire's home is the pretty little church just peeping through the trees.


Cockington Blue Badge Cockington Court

Cockington Court

©Richard J. Brine


And as you reach the top of the steep bank that leads to the house, you find something unusual - a number of gravestones set  in the turf, close to the church. And no, these are not the remains of human beings, this is the burial place of the favourite dogs of the people who once lived here and not only are their graves marked with stones, their dogs are carefully memorialised by being named on each stone. Below is the stone which marks the last resting place of " Beaver - who went to sleep, 23rd June 1928"


Beaver's grave

Beaver's grave

© Richard J. Brine


It is only when you arrive at the house that the pretence of being in an old world village changes because you are forced to consider the reality of the families who once lived here - and that won't take long for there have only been three such families since the time of William the Conqueror - a very unusual record indeed. They were:

1.The de Cockingtons    1070 - 1361  281 years

2. The Carys                  1376 - 1654  279 years

   3.The Mallocks              1654 - 1933  279 years  

Of course, each family changed the house many times and what you see today would have been alien to the de Cockingtons who lived in a open medieval Hall where today we see a comfortable Edwardian country house.


Cockington Church

Cockington Chuch

© Richard J. Brine

Arthur Ellis, an important Torquay historian, believed that building began here in 1070 and that there may have been a church here in Saxon times. There is documentary evidence for the existence of this building from 1113.


In the 1920s, local access to the church became forbidden except under certain exeptional circumstances. Torquay Corporation went to the High Court in an effort to regain public access to the church but lost their case and for a short while the gates were locked at the entrance to the grounds and visitors were charged 6d to come in including when using the church on a Sunday. This was the final straw as far as the Corporation was concerned and in 1933 they entered into a leasing agreement with the Cockington Trust. A few months later they exercised their right to buy the freehold and bought the Court and over 200 acres of land for £50,000.



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