Cockington began as a small Saxon village located near the Drum Inn. The evidence from this village shows that its existence was based primarily on fishing and farming. The first official documentation of the village was in the 10th century. The manor was owned by Alric the Saxon, before William Hostiarus, William de Falesia and Robert FitzMartin, who passed it down to his son Roger, who renounced his name to become Roger de Cockington. The Cockington family owned Cockington Estate from 1048–1348. The Cary family owned the court from 1375 to 1654. It was then sold to the Mallock family, a family of rich silversmiths from Exeter, who owned it from 1654 to 1932 when they sold the estate to the Torquay Corporation.
In 1894 Cockington was made an urban district, but in 1900 the civil parish was absorbed into Newton Abbot Rural District. When the estate was sold to Torquay in 1928 the village lost its independence altogether.