Marton to Great Ayton
The Cook Country Tour starts at the award winning Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Marton where the latest computer technology is used to tell Cook's story, his naval career, voyages of discovery and his world-wide influence.
The museum was opened in 1978 and now houses a unique insight into the world of James Cook. Set in a hundred acres of parkland with lakes and a children's zoo, the newly transformed museum marks the site of Cook's birth just a few yards away. Here a granite vase now stands on the site of the cottage where he was born in 1728. The cottage was demolished in 1786 to make way for a grand mansion, since destroyed by fire.
A day labourer, Cook's father worked on local farms and married Grace in the nearby village of Stainton in1725. James was their second child and was baptised on 3rd November 1728 in the small church of St. Cuthbert closeby. Since then the church has been rebuilt several times.The church was restored in the 1840's when Middlesbrough was just about to be developed as an important iron-making centre of Victorian England.
The register in which James' birth was entered is displayed in the church - the entry reads "James the son of James Cook day labourer baptized" written in a simple hand.
On Marton Village Green is a stone memorial from Point Hicks in Australia, the first Australian land sighted by Cook in 1770.
When James was 8 years old his father found a post as bailiff at a farm just six miles away near the village of Great Ayton.
The small town of Great Ayton has spacious greens alongside the river Leven and is the place where James Cook attended school, paid for by his father's employer Thomas Scottowe. Here he learned the basics of mathematics which would enable him to learn the navigation skills he became famous for later in life.
The school is now the Captain Cook Schoolroom Museum, celebrating his life in the locality. Elsewhere in the village is the old All Saints Parish Church,where the Cook family regularly worshipped. In the graveyard are the graves of his mother and five of his brothers and sisters.
Although James left the village at 16, the family remained at Aireyholme Farm until 1755, when they moved into a cottage in Bridge St. This building was dismantled and shipped to Australia in 1934, where it was rebuilt in Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne. A granite memorial now marks the site in the town.
Cook's life is again celebrated by a huge obelisk erected in 1827on Easby Moor high above the town. This monument is on a four mile "Cook's Boyhood" circular walkwhich takes in the strangely shaped Roseberry Toppingand Aireyholme Farm.