Thursday, 19 May 2016

We visit Cockington Court country park and craft centre

We met up with our artist friend Marta yesterday
ROC Creative wedding dress displayed at
Cockington Court 
afternoon. She is on a flying visit to the UK and suggested that we might like to spend some time together at Cockington Court. We had seen the Torbay attraction advertised, but hadn't yet got around to visiting so were happy to take up her idea. As it was a sunny afternoon we decided to walk in from the outskirts of Torquay, parking up near to the station and following a very pretty open woodland path into the Court grounds. Our alternative, which I had already checked via a Twitter conversation, was to park onsite. This is reasonably priced at £1 per hour up to three hours and £4.50 for over three hours (exact change needed for the machines). Cockington Court has been extensively renovated, part paid for by the European Development Fund, but still retains a real air of history and reminded of Alfriston - a historic village near to where we used to live in Sussex.

We started our visit with a drink at The Drum Inn which
The Drum Inn, Cockington 
was built in 1936 and sports a blue plaque outside because it was designed by architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. The coffee is pretty good and Marta was pleased they had St Austell Brewery's Proper Job beer on tap.

Outside we could see picturesque thatched cottages and a water wheel being repaired as we walked by. The number of ice cream shops and tea rooms gave us an idea of just how busy Cockington Court must get in the height of summer, but it was pleasantly tranquil on a weekday May afternoon. There are over twenty artisan studios whose windows we peered into. I loved the gorgeous colours at OurGlass glassblowers workspace and was tempted by the four-tiered chocolate-covered cakes at Cockington Chocolate Company - almost worth getting married for, except I wouldn't want to share!

Cockington Court house 

Leaving the studios behind, we crossed the windy cricket
Stairwell window 
pitch towards Cockington Court house itself. Apparently a thriving Saxon community in 1066, Cockington was seized and passed to a conquering Norman family, the FitzMartins, who promptly changed their name to deCockington. The family remained until 1375 when they sold the estate to Sir John Cary. A Chief Baron of Exchequer, his family owned the estate continuously, despite beheadings and forced exiles, until they were ruined by the civil war. Exeter goldsmith Roger Mallock bought Cockington Court in 1654 and also, later, Torquay's Torre Abbey. The beautiful stained glass window here features stylised 'M' letters which I presume were for Mallock. William Of Orange was met on British shores at the quay by a Rawlyn Mallock in 1688 and this third family continued to live here until 1933.

Cockington might no longer be a place for making history,
Cockington church 
but echoes of its past are everywhere - even the church has real battlements! Nowadays, the emphasis is s on art and creativity and we were lucky to catch a ROC Creative art exhibition in the Kitchen Gallery. Entitled Memories, its publicity poster indicated it should have finished in April so I don't know for how much longer it will continue, but the work was still on show as of the 17th of May and included the gorgeous wedding dress illustrated in the first photo at the top of this post. ROC Creative is an inclusive arts-led project supporting people with learning difficulties. The Wedding Dress was originally created as part of an exhibition to commemorate 200 years of Singer (of sewing machine fame). Artists were given plain white cotton cloth and asked to create a garment that evoked a significant personal memory. ROC Creative's dress is transfer printed with photographs important to the members and staff who wanted to take part.

As Cockington Court was closing for the day as we left the Kitchen Gallery, we started back through the village and along the pretty path. Our entertainment wasn't quite finished though because Dave expertly crossed the stream and back balancing on a sloping fallen tree!

A circus career beckons? 

2 comments:

  1. Could you tell me if goldsmith is still there. I bought wedding ring from them 6 years ago. Unfortunately now getting to small and i love it. Do they supply brochure as i'm in glasgow

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I don't know what businesses were at Cockington Court that long ago so couldn't say if the jewellers are the same ones. Your best bet would be to contact directly. The website is http://www.cockingtoncourt.org/

      Delete