Grassmere has a long and rich history spanning 130 years. The farm was originally established on the 14th of February 1890 by Mat’s great uncles. At the time of purchasing Grassmere, the area of Colyton was known as Mangaone. This was a busy settlement area with a store, post office, school and hall.
The original Grassmere farm became well known for the quality of draught horses that were broke in and sold and also shipped across New Zealand. During this time the land was also used for cropping and sheep.
Francis William Hocken and Hugh Bawden Hocken established the Grassmere farm on the 14th of February 1890 when approximately 84 acres of land was purchased. The sons of a farming family from Cornwell, they left England in 1879 and headed for the new colony of New Zealand. Shortly after the purchase of the land, their younger brother Harry Ernest Hocken emigrated to New Zealand, arriving in 1892 and went into partnership with Hugh Bawden Hocken at Grassmere.
In 1904 following his marriage to Alice Maud Hudson, Harry Hocken purchased the Grassmere block from his brothers Francis and Hugh Hocken, both of who returned to England.