Coutch History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Coutch emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. 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. Occupational surnames were derived from the common trades of the medieval era. The surname Coutch is an occupational name for a maker of couches or beds or an upholsterer. The surname is derived from the Old French word couch, which means couch. [1]Occupational names frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames.

Alternatively, the name could have been "a Cornish form of Cooch [Welsh coch, red]." [2]

Early Origins of the Coutch family

The surname Coutch was first found in Oxfordshire where they held a family seat from early times. Couch's Mill is a small hamlet in Cornwall which has been spelt Couchs Mill, Couch's Mill and Couches Mill over the years.

However, we must look to Sussex to find the earliest record of the family. It is there that John le Cochere was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. Later the Corpus Christi Guild (Surtees Society) in Yorkshire had these interesting entries confirming the occupational etymology: William Cawoou, cowcher, Yorkshire, 1443; and Robert Bell, cowcher, Yorkshire, 1442. [3]

In Cornwall, "the manor of Luxulian, which was in the family of Couch so early as the reign of James I. was sold to the Rashleigh family in the days of Charles I." [4]

Early History of the Coutch family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Coutch research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1270, 1273, 1295, 1544, 1563, 1758 and 1760 are included under the topic Early Coutch History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Coutch Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Couche, Couch, Cowch, Cowche, Cauch, Cawch, Cauche, Cawche, Coutche, Coutch, Coucher, Cowcher, Couchur and many more.

Early Notables of the Coutch family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Coutch family to Ireland

Some of the Coutch family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


New Zealand Coutch migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Coutch Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William H. Coutch, aged 21, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1872
  • Richard Coutch, aged 19, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Schiehallion" in 1872


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. 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. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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