This unusual and interesting name is of early Medieval English origin, and is a 'nickname' surname for an 'idle dreamer', one whose habits and way of life suggested he had come from the land of 'Cockaigne'. This was the name of an imaginary country, the abode of luxury and idleness, 'cloud-cuckooland'. The name derives from the Middle English 'cokayne', from the Old French '(pays de) cocaigne', ultimately derived from the Low German word 'kokenje', a diminutive of 'koke', cake, since in this land the houses themselves were supposed to be made of cake. The development of the surname has included Hawisa de Cokaing (1219, Yorkshire), Geoffrey de Cokaygne (1228, Essex), and John Cokkayn (1332, Cumberland), and the modern surname can be found as 'Cokayne' and 'Cockayne'. The marriage of Abigail Cokayne and John Carey was recorded on the 2nd December 1630 at St. Peter le Poor, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Cokeir, which was dated 1193, The Warwickshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard I, 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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