This English surname of COGGESHALL was a habitation name from COGGESHALL in County Essex, so called from the general case of the Old English personal name COGG + HALH. The name is also spelt COXALL, COXWELL and COGSWELL. The first recorded bearer of the name is Sir Thomas COGGESHALL, who was living at Coggeshall in 1149. In the 13th and 14th centuries various bearers of the name served as sheriffs of Essex and Hertfordshire. The name was taken to America in 1632 by John COGGESHALL, who became first governor of Rhode Island, and in 1635 by John COGSWELL. In 1887 a descendant Daniel COGSWELL, founded Cogswell College, San Francisco. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries.
In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. A notable member of the name was Ralph de COGGESHALL (died, circa. 1227), the English chronicler, a native of Cambridgeshire. He was abbot from 1207 to 1218 of the Cistercian abbey of Coggeshall, Essex, and continued the Latin Chronicle kept at the Abbey, covering the period 1187-1224. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Registered at Milton and Bengall, County Suffolk.
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