The surname COCKWELL has a number of origins. It was derived from the Old English COCC - dweller by the hill or haycock and was also from a nickname, possibly applied to a youth who strutted proudly like a cock-bird. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th century. They were not in use in England, or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book of 1086. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. Early records of the name mention Coc de Domo Abraham of London in 1192. Nicholas Cock of the County of Surrey was documented in the year 1297. Thomas Cokk of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax in 1379. Joseph Cock and Hannah Sprott were married at St. Mary Aldermary, London in 1606.
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