line decor
  
line decor
   
 
 
HISTORY

The name Mockett led us back in recorded history to 1656 when Richard Mockett, son of a notable Kent landowning family married Sarah, daughter of Nicholas Sampson of Reading Street Farm. Richard purchased Hopeville Farm (formerly known as Dumptons) in St. Peter's building their home opposite the church, now called The Old Farmhouse, and bears the initials R M S and the date 1682 above the porch. Their youngest son Isaac built Hopeville House nearby in 1723 and over the next two centuries the Mockett Estate increased to stretch as far as the present St. Peter's recreation ground, with successive heirs becoming leading figures in the Church and 'squires' of the village.

Most useful were the reminiscences of a life-long St. Peter's resident whose mother, born in 1890, used to say to her daughter, "When I was a child I saw the saplings growing in the meadow". Our attention thus focused, we found that the relevant Mockett heir was Sherwood Mockett (1849-1922); born at Hopeville House, married and moved to live in Westbrook, taking a partnership in a corn merchants' business Mockett and Thorn, in Love Lane, Margate. After the death in 1897 of his first wife Emma Henrietta, Sherwood became involved in plans for the building of a third property in the grounds of Hopeville, to which he would eventually retire.

This new house called The Orchard was completed in 1900. It necessitated the felling of a large number of trees for the old apple orchard had stretched to the corner of Church Street and Northdown Road.

It seems probable that the creation and planting of an arboricultural garden in their neighbouring meadow was also being discussed, for such plantations had been the vogue since early in the Victorian era. Landowners improved their estates in this way so that their families could take the air, sheltered from the cold winter winds and, at a time when it was fashionable for ladies to preserve their complexions, protected from the summer sun. Local evidence has also revealed that initially the owner raised game birds there, and for a time it sheltered the donkeys which gave children rides on the sands. Signs of original pathways can be seen in the proliferation of the old spiny shrub Butchers Broom Ruscus aculeatus, its common name associated with the time when butchers would use it tied in bundles to scour their chopping blocks.

The original care given over to the maintenance of this plantation by the plentiful labour existing in those times diminished considerably as the century wore on but the seeming lapse into neglect was to bring about a change that would make it even more precious and valuable in the future. Spared from harmful chemicals and pesticides, the fallen branches decomposed producing fungi for native insects and by natural progression a broadleaved secondary woodland was developing. Furthermore, its overgrown tree canopy was compensated for by the open southerly aspect of the field margin which was becoming the 'ecotone' (a place where one habitat joins another), necessary to sustain a wide variety of woodland flora and fauna.

 

 



 
small product photo small product photo small product photo
View larger image
Hopeville House
 

View larger image
Sherwood with Gordon c1860

  View larger image
William
 
small product photo small product photo small product photo
View larger image
Maud
  View larger image
Mrs William Mockett
  View larger image
Louisa Green
 

Walter Sickert - The Artist
Hopeville House has a special association with the artist Walter Sickert for local people remember him and his wife renting the house in the mid 1930's.

Visit by the Mockett family
In 2008 we were pleased to wellcome a visit from from Mr Kit Mockett and Mr Neil Mockett, grandson and great grandson of Sherwood, the originator of this secondary woodland. Kit commented; "It was very special for me to see how well my grandfather's arboreitum was being conserved."