Where it all began

History


Where it all began

A PASSIONATE, HARD-WORKING FAMILY BUSINESS

GROWING FROM A SMALL POULTRY BUSINESS IN THE HEART OF COOKHAM, THE COMPANY HAS DIVERSIFIED OVER 5 FARMS PRODUCING THOUSANDS OF TURKEYS AND CHICKENS. RUNNING INTERNATIONAL EVENTS AND MANAGING A LUXURY PROPERTY PORTFOLIO.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

Village records show, that although the Copas family has been living and working in Cookham since 1698, it wasn’t until 1901 when they began farming that they got a real taste for living off the land. Tom’s personal passion for turkeys began back in 1957 thanks to his father who decided that, having left school, his son needed a new project to keep him on his toes.

The signals that first Christmas were heartening with Tom managing to sell 153 birds to local markets & families & gaining an unwavering appreciation for one of the British farmyard’s lesser known residents.

Nowadays with the Copas family responsible for some 40,000 or so first-class turkeys, the business has grown into a true family concern. Tom’s wife Brenda acts not only as the face at the farm gate, but also as the creative inspiration within the kitchen, whilst children Tanya, Fenella, Sarah & Tom (junior) are in charge of the day-to-day management of the blossoming Copas brand.

For all its growth & glowing reviews, Copas Traditional Turkeys remains a passionate, hard-working family business where everyone mucks in.

REMENHAM FARM/TEMPLE ISLAND MEADOWS

The Copas Family once specialised in fruit, and in the 1960s and 1970s, Tanya, Fenella, Sarah and Toms grandfather used to take baskets of soft fruit to both Miss McKenzie, the previous owner of Temple Island, and John and Clare Cridlan at Remenham Farm. The family bought Remenham Farm from John and Clare in 1977, and farmed alongside them originally growing potatoes whilst they retired to Remenham Farmhouse (now in private ownership). John and Clare continued to take healthy interest in our management of Remenham Farm and regatta activities for the rest their lives. Two of the Copas families cottages in Remenham Church Lane are named in their memory. Sadly it was not financially viable to keep all the original farm buildings and they have been successfully converted into attractive residential properties including Old Blades, Cherwell, Barnside Cottage, The Reeds and Remenham Barn.

Remenham Farm has a long association with rowing – one of the earliest photos the family have shows tents opposite Temple Island in 1893 and the farm buildings have been used as The Barn Bar during Henley Royal Regatta since the 1930’s (although quite often the cattle were still in the beer garden too!).

Henley Royal Regatta attendance dropped in 1970s, but has since increased, and as with many events, attendance at HRR now far less elitist. The business has moved with the times and now offer facilities at the Regatta for all tastes and budgets – from riverside picnics to corporate hospitality under the name of Temple Island Meadows.

As well as Henley Royal Regatta we The Copas Partnership supports many rowing events in Henley primarily Henley Women’s Regatta and the smaller events that don’t fall under the Henley Royal Regatta Banner but still need a riverside location such as Henley Masters and the Henley Boat Races.

Remenham Farm is very special to The Copas family, and the current generation has growing up with it, with happy memories of picnicking opposite Temple Island with our grandparents, and celebrating our weddings and christenings on the riverside. The Copas Partnership take their guardianship of this unique land extremely seriously, and as both a family and business are committed to investing in its management and maintenance.

In the past potatoes were grown on the farm but now that the riverside area has been grassed down to create a parkland environment on which events are run, and parts of which are left open for local residents and the public as a whole to enjoy. To find out more about the history of Henley Royal Regatta at Temple Island Meadows, Remenham Farm click here.

PROPERTIES OVER TIME

TThe Copas Family and business’s have a long association with the river where the families original ancestors in Cookham were bargemen. The Woottens are traditional boat builders on the river at Winter Hill, Cookham Dean. Riparian ownership means the family own the land under the river to the middle of the river. Tom Copas farmed with his brother from 1957 to 1999 and since then, there has been less arable farming on the land and several of the large grain and machinery stores have been converted for storage use and are available for let. 2001 saw the opening by Sir Steve Redgrave of The Courtyard Barns at Mount Farm in Cookham Dean. These Victorian farm buildings, were converted into premium period office space with names including the Granary and the Round House with views as far reaching as Windsor Castle and Cliveden House, they are home to a number of thriving business’s.

In 2012 Sir Steve Redgrave was the obvious choice to open the newly converted farm buildings at the Riverside Barns, Remenham Farm. The original barns were transformed into luxury offices to create another truly very very special place to work.

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