This interesting surname of English origin with variant spellings Dockray, Dockerey, Dockwray, Dockeray, Dockwra etc., is a locational name from Dockray in Cumberland, deriving from the old Norse "dokk" meaning "a hollow, valley" or the old English pre 7th Century "docce" "dock, sorrel" and "(v)ra" "a corner". The placename is recorded as Dochora (1195), "the Feet of Fines", and as Dokwra (1292), "Placita de quo Warranto". The surname dates back to the early 14th Century, (see below). Church recordings include one Blannche Dockray who married Owen Har on January 14th 1618 at St. Bartholomew the Less, London, Margaret, daughter of John and Margaret Dockrey, was christened on March 3rd 1640 at St. Olave's, Old Jewry, London and Elizabeth Dockray married Thomas Stephenson on November 21st 1708 at Allhallows, London Wall. One William Dockwray (deceases 1716) was a London merchant. He established a postal system in the metropolis (1680), cast in a suit instituted by the Duke of York to protect his monopoly. He was comptroller of the penny post (1697 - 1700). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Dokwra, which was dated 1332, the Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland, during the reign of King Edward 111, "the Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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