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Exciting find at Captain Cooks family home

Published on Tuesday, 5th February 2019

Exciting find at Captain Cooks family home

Work to rejuvenate Captain Cook’s Memorial Garden in Great Ayton has taken an unexpected – and exciting – turn!

Contractors working on creating an outline of the Cook family cottage - located in the garden until it was moved stone by stone to Australia in 1934 – hit the jackpot when they unearthed some of the building’s original foundations.

Next week (Feb 11-13) archaeologists will move on to the site to dig further to uncover the foundation stones – and they hope to find more evidence of the explorer’s early life.

Great Ayton Parish Council is funding the work by local archaeologist John Buglass and members of the village History Society.  The work is being filmed for the archives – and for a display at the Captain Cooks Schoolroom Museum in the village.  And local people are welome to go along to the dig to see the exploration for themselves.

“The Parish Council - and indeed the village as a whole - were already very excited about the makeover of the Cook Memorial Garden site, but we are surprised and delighted at the unexpected discovery of a section of the original foundations,” said Great Ayton Parish Council Chair, Angela Taylor.

“Although it has set completion of the project back a little, we feel it is well worth the extra time and effort, given that this is a now or never opportunity.  The newly refurbished site together with all the new documentary information we are compiling will help the village as it continues to celebrate our proud connections with Captain James Cook and his family.”

Over the past few years the garden has fallen into decline – and with no signage or information boards it often gets overlooked by visitors. Work includes clearing the site, restoring the garden, installing a new footpath, repairing the obelisk, recreating the cottage layout and installing interpretation boards.   There will also be a new website and leaflets.

The dig takes place from 9.30am until 4pm from February 11 – 13.

  • The rejuvenated garden will open in May to celebrate the date in 1772 when the cottage was sold by Captain Cook’s father, bringing the family’s 35 year association with the village to an end. The Parish Council scheme is being made possible thanks to a grant of almost £16,000 from LEADER funds – the rural development programme for the UK, and support from Hambleton District Council.