This is a surname of Olde English origins. It derives from 'Cokelei' as recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book, and translating as 'The lands of Coca', a baptismal name. There are in fact three such villages in England, in the counties of Worcester, Oxford and Suffolk, although the surname in its various and varied forms, is most recorded in London. This is not in itself unusual. It probably means that between the 14th and 17th centuries the various villages were 'cleared' for sheep farming, and the tenants then moved to the 'mecca' - as London was so perceived to be. In so doing they would take with them as their identity the name of their former village, and given local dialects and poor spelling, this would create the various forms. These include Cookley (which is now the normal village spelling), Cokely, Cokly, Cocklie and Coakley. The early recordings include Ann Cokely, daughter of John and Marye Cokely, christened at the church of St Mary Somerset, London, on May 30th 1622, Mary Coakley, who married Christian Goodwin at St Johns Church, Hackney, on May 22nd 1638, and Jone Coakley, daughter of Randall Coakley, christened at St Giles Cripplegate, on April 25th 1641. The Coat of Arms has an ermine field, charged with a lions head on a black chief, between two gold eagles displayed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Cokely, which was dated June 19th 1589, christened at St Thomas the Apostle, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as 'Good Queen Bess' 1558 - 1603. 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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