This interesting surname is English. Recorded in several forms including Hancock, Handcock, Hancocks and Hancox, it originates from the personal name Johannes, an early form of John, and from the Hebrew "Yochanan" meaning Jehovah has favoured me with a son. To this was added the suffix "cock or cox". Cock was word used for many centuries to describe a lusty youth. In this case early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving charters of the Middle Ages include Hanecock Birunc, in the Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire in 1273. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th century (see below) and John Hancokes appears in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire in 1376 and Warynus Hancok is registered in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire in 1379. Other later examples taken from surviving church registers include the marriage of Ralph Hancox and Elizabeth Smith on February 5th 1590 at St. Giles Cripplegate, in the city of London, and William Hancox, the son of Mathew Hancox who was christened at St. Brides Fleet Street, on June 15th 1589. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Hancoc. This was dated 1274, in the Hundred Rolls of Shropshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. 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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