Show ContentsCocke History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The birthplace of the surname Cocke is Cornwall, a rugged peninsula in southwestern England that is noted for its strong Gaelic traditions. Even though the usage of surnames was common during the Middle Ages, all English people were known only by a single name in early times. The process by which hereditary surnames came to be used is intriguing. As the number of inhabitants of Europe swelled, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify them. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Although nickname surnames were rare among the Cornish, they did occasionally adopt names that reflected the physical characteristics or other attributes of the original bearer of the name. The name Cocke is a nickname type of surname for a person with a rosy complexion or red hair. Interestingly, the name Cocke was originally from the Welsh word coch, which means red.

Alternatively the name could have been Norman from "le Coq or Cocus. William, Gerold, Josceline, Radulphus Coqus or Cocus all appear in Normandy 1180-95. Of these, William and Ralph occur in England 1189." [1]

Early Origins of the Cocke family

The surname Cocke was first found in Somerset where John le Cok and Henry le Cok were both listed 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) [2] The Close Rolls had two listings John a Kok, Close Rolls, 9 Edward I and William le Kok, Close Rolls, 3 Edward I. [3]

John Cok (1392?-1467?), was "Brother of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, born about 1392, probably in or near London, as he was apprenticed to Thomas Lamporte, a goldsmith in Wood Street. In 1417 he was ordained priest, and in 1419 became a brother of St. Bartholomew's Hospital. " [4]

Early History of the Cocke family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cocke research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1660 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Cocke History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cocke Spelling Variations

Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Cock, Cocke, Koke, Cocks and others.

Early Notables of the Cocke family

Notable amongst the family at this time was

  • Thomas Cocke of Monks Kirby; and Christopher Cock, English instrument maker of the 17th century who supplied microscopes to Robert Hooke

United States Cocke migration to the United States +

Study of Passenger and Immigration lists has revealed that among early immigrants bearing the Cocke surname were:

Cocke Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Cocke, who arrived in Virginia in 1627 [5]
  • Mr. Jo Cocke, aged 17, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 aboard the ship "Assurance" [6]
  • George Cocke, aged 25, who arrived in New England in 1635 aboard the ship "Defence", bound for Cambridge [5]
  • Joseph Cocke, aged 27, from Essex, who arrived in New England in 1635 aboard the ship "Defence", bound for Cambridge [5]
  • Lewis Cocke, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cocke Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard, Cocke Jr., who arrived in Virginia in 1713 [5]
  • Elizabeth Cocke, who arrived in Virginia in 1713 [5]
  • Richard Cocke, who landed in Virginia in 1720 [5]
  • William Cocke, who landed in Virginia in 1720 [5]
  • Ann Cocke, who arrived in Virginia in 1724 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Cocke migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [7]
Cocke Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Richard Cocke, aged 33, who landed in St Christopher in 1633 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cocke (post 1700) +

  • James Richard Cocke (1863-1900), American blind physician, homeopath, and a pioneer hypnotherapist
  • Philip St. George Cocke (1809-1861), Confederate general during the American Civil War
  • John Hartwell Cocke II (1780-1866), American planter and brigadier general in the War of 1812
  • Charles Lewis Cocke (b. 1940), American physicist and winner of the 2006 Davisson-Germer Prize
  • John Cocke (1925-2002), American computer scientist who is considered "the father of RISC architecture"
  • John Alexander Cocke (1772-1854), American politician, Member of Tennessee State House of Representatives, 1796-97, 1807-13, 1837-39; Speaker of the Tennessee State House of Representatives, 1811-13, 1837-39 [8]
  • Jack F. Cocke, American politician, Candidate for Representative from Alabama in the Confederate Congress 5th District, 1861, 1863 [8]
  • J. W. Cocke, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 1912, 1916 [8]
  • Frederick Bird Smith Cocke (1813-1903), American politician, Member of Texas State House of Representatives, 1861-63, 1879; Delegate to Texas State Constitutional Convention, 1875 [8]
  • Earl Cocke Jr., American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1952 [8]
  • ... (Another 9 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's. Retrieved January 6th 2023 from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from on Facebook