A Cook Family Business

For over 40 years the Cook family have owned and worked on the 170-acre site that was originally known as “Manor Farm” in Drighlington.

On 24th May 1978, brothers Bill & Eric Cook attended a public auction at the Drighlington community centre after an advert in the Yorkshire Post had caught their eye. Recollections may vary regarding what took place at the auction, but what we do know for sure is that they left that day with the keys to a new farm and an appointment with the bank manager to explain why they had spent too much money!

The brothers were the second generation of Cooks to turn their hand to farming, they lived and grew up in their father Gordon’s butchers shop in Altofts, Castleford and had a rented farm stead nearby. The original “Cook Bros” butchers were passed on to the brothers from their father, but Bill and Eric decided butchery was not for them, so they sold the shops and used the proceeds to buy the farm they were renting.

Two old black and white photographs, one shows a house with an adjoining barn and the other shows farm buildings and pig pens, the foreground is muddy.

Manor Farm

When the purchase of Manor Farm was complete, the family moved to the farmhouse in Drighlington. For the next 8 years they grew potatoes, wheat and oilseed rape on the farm, selling the produce all over Yorkshire. Bill & Eric were farmers at heart and although farming was tough work, it was their passion.

However, as modern farming techniques developed and prices began to drop, the farm was just not large enough to support two families and they accepted that they needed to diversify. The brothers explored their options and after much discussion it was decided to put in a planning application for a golf course. The Manor was born.

An advert for an auction torn out of The Yorkshire Post newspaper from 1978 and a document confirming the sale of Manor Farm, Drighlington, dated 3rd July 1978.

The Manor

Development started in 1992 with the Driving Range, which Bill & Eric built by hand. Following this, and after only 6 months of construction, the 18 Hole Championship Golf Course opened in 1993 to much local interest.

The transition from farmland to golf course was quick, but highly successful, with much celebration of the course’s layout and features.

Further building work followed and in 1996 the “club house” building was completed and the brothers who sold their butchers shops in the 1970s primarily because they didn’t enjoy dealing with customers, found themselves in the hospitality business!

An aerial photo showing the driving range at The Manor, Drighlington, along with the surrounding golf course and farm land. It is a sunny days and the trees are in leaf.

The Next Generation

In their youth Bill’s sons Andrew and Mark were first put to work in the family business raking bunkers and collecting balls. Both moved on from these roles; Mark entered more formal employment in the business, earning his stripes before becoming club house manager while elder brother Andrew trained as an architect and went on to work primarily on the development of bars and restaurants.

In 2018, at the age of 79, Eric decided it was time to retire and so his nephews stepped up to take the reins alongside their father Bill. With Mark’s deep understanding of the current business and Andrew’s experience in the wider hospitality industry, they knew how things could be better. They were keen to move the business forward to meet the expectations of today’s customers, and Andrew could see clearly how the existing building could be better utilised and developed to achieve this. Bill’s just happy for them to crack on.

Cook House Bar & Kitchen is the first phase of the brothers’ vision.

Three men dressed smartly in green tweed suits and flat caps stand in front of a wooden barn door, they are smiling.


Reserve a table online.

Our Menus

Check out our suite of menus.