This most interesting and curious surname may have originated from two possible sources. Firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational name from Cocking, a place in Sussex, appearing as "Cochinges" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The placename derives from the Olde English personal name "Cocca", from "cocc", a cock, and the suffix "-ing", meaning "people of", hence, the place where Cocca's people lived. Secondly, the surname may be of Old French origin, from the Old French "coquaigne", Middle English "cokaygne", the name of an imaginary country, the abode of luxury and idleness. Ellis (Specimens of Early English Poets) gives an early translation of a 13th Century French poem, called "The Land of Cockaign", in which "the houses were made of barley sugar cakes, the streets were paved with pastry, and the shops supplied goods for nothing". London has been so called, and the name may mean "the land of cakes", from the Latin "coquere", to cook, and Scotland is called "the land of cakes". The name may have been a nickname for one whose habits and way of life suggested he had come from the "land of Cokaigne, cloud-cuckooland". Early recordings include: Hawisa de Cokaingne (Yorkshire, 1219); William Coccing (Leicester, 1266); and William Cocking (Sussex, 1327). Variants of the surname in the modern idiom are Cockin, Cockings and Cockayne. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Cokein, which was dated 1193, in the "Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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