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Cockwithay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The proud Cockwithay family originated in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. The Cockwithay family originally lived in Devon, at the village of Coxworth.

Early Origins of the Cockwithay family

The surname Cockwithay was first found in Devon where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Yarnscombe in that county. At the time of the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086 A.D. the estates of Yarnescombe (anciently spelt Hernescombe) were held by Robert from Baldwin the Sheriff of Devon and, conjecturally, the family name may be descended from this person although the Cornish source may predominate by their close relationship to the Cornish family of Trevalian. By the nature of an explanation of the meaning of the name, a "worthy" was one who held personal rights above and beyond the influence of the tenant-in-chief, in this case the rights to a roost of a cock, hens and chickens, and more importantly, the manure therefrom. All other roosts were the property of the Lords of the Manor. To be a worthy of any farm product meant a person of high distinction, next to the Lords of the Manor and usually succeeding to that position.

Early History of the Cockwithay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cockwithay research.
Another 211 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 151 and 1515 are included under the topic Early Cockwithay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cockwithay 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 Coxworthie, Coxworthy, Cockworthy, Cocksworthy, Cooksworthy, Cooksworthie, Cockworthie, Cookworth, Coxsworth and many more.

Early Notables of the Cockwithay family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Cockwithay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Cockwithay family to the New World and Oceana

A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Cockwithay: John and Jane Cookworthy who landed in New York state in 1822 with seven children. In Newfoundland the family settled in Grand Bank and later moved to St. John's..

Cockwithay Family Crest Products

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