The illustrious surname Cockworthe finds its origin in the rocky, sea swept coastal area of southwestern England
known as Cornwall
. Although surnames were fairly widespread in medieval England
, people were originally known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames
were adopted is extremely interesting. As populations grew, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Under the Feudal
System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Lords and their tenants often became known by the name of the feudal
territory they owned or lived on. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic
names, the Cornish predominantly used local
surnames. This was due to the heavy political and cultural influence of the English upon the Cornish People
at the time that surnames first came into use. Local
surnames were derived from where a person lived, held land, or was born. While many Cornish surnames of this sort appear to be topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees, many are actually habitation surnames derived from lost or unrecorded place names. The name Cockworthe is a local type of surname and the Cockworthe family lived in Devon
, at the village of Coxworth.
Early Origins of the Cockworthe family
The surname Cockworthe 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 Cockworthe family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cockworthe research.Another 211 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 151 and 1515 are included under the topic Early Cockworthe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Cockworthe 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 Cockworthe family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Cockworthe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Cockworthe family to the New World and Oceana
An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Cockworthe: 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..