Contractors make an exciting discovery at Captain Cook's family home in Great Ayton

Ben Barnard and Ben Culley of contractors Mossy Rock of Stokesley uncover the'foundation stones
Ben Barnard and Ben Culley of contractors Mossy Rock of Stokesley uncover the'foundation stones

Work to rejuvenate Captain Cook’s Memorial Garden in Great Ayton has taken an unexpected, but 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.

From February 11 to 13, archaeologists will move on to the site to dig further to uncover the foundation stones and 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 as well as for a display at the Captain Cooks Schoolroom Museum in the village.

Local people are invited to go along to the dig to see the exploration for themselves.

Great Ayton Parish Council Chair, Angela Taylor, said: “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."

“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 often gets overlooked by visitors as there are no signs or information boards.

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 to 13.