Amongst all the many interesting surnames 'Cocker' deserves to be in the forefront. There are two possible origins, the first and most romantic, originates in the period of the Olde English in the 5th century a.d., and derives from the word 'cocc', a word used in many contexts, but one which originally described 'a son'. However such was the importance given to the male heir, that the word was also used to describe a 'fighter or warrior', the implication being that the son would hardly be anything else but a blood thirsty hooligan, who would defend the family's so-called honour. As however it became clear that not all sons were hell-bent on such a lifestyle, the word became applied to a professional warrior, even a prize fighter, one who fought less for honour and more for money. The second origin is more pragmatic, and describes a maker of hay ricks and stacks, (originally known as 'cocks') an important occupation in medieval times, when survival over winter relied upon the preservation of winter feed for the animals, before the days of barns. Certainly the name is one of the earliest recorded Geoffrey Cockere being recorded in Berkshire in 1237, whilst Adam Le Kokkere is recorded in Staffordshire in 1327. Later recordings include James Cocker at St Giles Cripplegate, London, on December 29th 1583, William Cocker at Manchester Cathedral on May 3rd 1584, and Johes Cocker of Howden, East Yorkshire on October 27th 1582. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henri Cockere, which was dated 1198, in the Pipe Rolls of the County of Kent, 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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