The History of the Coxson, Coxon and Coxen names from Medieval England to Elizabethan England.
Medieval England, 900 – 1485
England, with defined borders, came about in the 10th century after the defeat of the Vikings. Borders with Wales and Scotland were established and in England there was unification of the Saxon kingdoms.
In 1066, the defeat of the Saxons by William the Conqueror formed the basis of family names and structure. Saxon names disappeared to be replaced by Norman names even in the indigenous population for reasons of personal safety or fashion. Even within the same family children could have a Saxon name or a Norman name.
In 1300, English becomes the language of government and documentation. Before this time it was French and Latin. By the end of the period the English had incorporated Wales as a principality and claimed sovereignty over Ireland and Scotland.
To investigate the name evolution we have researched eleven names using documented evidence to give a complete understanding of their origin. These similar names are:
Coq, Coc, Cock, Cocks, Cockson, Kockson, Cox, Coxe, Coxson, Coxon, Coxen.
SUMMARY – for the period from 900 to 1558.
- From 1066 to 1485, Coc is by far the most common name in use.
- Cock appears in 1201 but infrequently in the period 1066-1485.
- Cockson appears in 1273 and is more common than Cock during the period but much less so than Coc.
- Cocks first appears in 1293.
- Cox first appears in 1318.
- Coxson first appears in 1475.
- Coxon first appears in 1538.
- Coxen appears in 1551.
- Kockson appears briefly in 1552.
- At the beginning of the Norman period the family locations were Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.
- At the end of the Tudor period locations were Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, London, Lincolnshire, Dorset, Norfolk and Suffolk.
We have reviewed the development from 1066 of eleven similar names – Coq, Coc, Cock, Cocks, Cockson, Kockson, Cox, Coxe, Coxson, Coxon and Coxen.
We have evidence dating from 1086 through to the end of Medieval England and then into the Tudor period. From this documented evidence our research has concluded that our names are derived from the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 and from the Coc families who came from France with William I.
William the Conqueror ‘harried the North’ and virtually wiped out the local population. It became a desolate area from the Scottish Borders to York and it is unlikely that any local name survived.
The name then evolves from 1297 to Cockson and Coxson and then from 1538 into Coxon and finally Coxen in 1551.
Coc → Cockson → Coxson → Coxon → Coxen
We have concluded that Coc goes directly to Cockson and not Coc → Cock → Cockson because of the low frequency of the name Cock – it is much less frequent than both Coc and Cockson during the Medieval period. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that Cockson appears before Cocks.
A parallel line would also result in Coxson, Coxon and Coxen and it is likely that the names co-mingled at a later date.
Coc → Cock → Cocks → Cox → Coxson → Coxon → Coxen
Both lines may result in the names but we conclude that the more direct line through Cockson is stronger since Cockson appears in history before both Cocks and Cox.
We will be publishing more details of our research at a later date.