Cockitt Family History

This website is dedicated to the history of the Cockitt family of Cheshire. Browse through the pages to find details of the earliest known members of the family and brief biographies of some of the more interesting characters. You will also find a list of associated names which may help you with your own research. Drop me an email if you want more information, or if you feel you can add to my knowledge.

Keith Giles - Auckland, New Zealand

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There are several theories about the origin of the Cockitt/Cockett surname. One is that it denoted a baker - a cockett being the stamp or seal on a loaf of bread in medieval times certifying it was of the correct weight. Another is that it referred to a customs officer, whose job it was to check off or 'cockett' goods and merchandise. A third possibility is that it is a diminutive of the word or surname Cock (originally thought to have been applied to a proud strutting youth, or a fat awkward person) with an alternative spelling of Coquet. Co(c)quet, or Cochet, is in fact a surname found amongst French Huguenots in England in the 16th century, and so some modern-day Cockitts may well have French ancestors.

Despite the possibility that the Cockitt/Cockett surname may derive from placenames or geographical features (there is a River Cocquet in Northumberland and a township of Cockett in South Wales) the name most likely derives from an occupation or nickname rather than a location. This view is supported by analysis of  Cockitt/Cockett births, marriages and deaths extracted from the General Register Office (GRO) indexes for the period 1837-1920. These show that the surname was not restricted to any one part of England or Wales, although there were particular strongholds of the name in Bradford (Yorkshire), Macclesfield, Manchester, Battle and Hastings, and London during the 19th century. The countrywide 1881 census index also indicates large clusters of the surname in Lincolnshire and Essex.

A correspondent related to me how once she had been informed by an old Essex resident that Cockett "was a good Essex name". That won't stop you finding "Cockett's Temperance Hotel" and "Cockett the Butcher" in Hawes, North Yorkshire.


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