Recorded in the spellings of Stokoe and Stockow, this is an English locational surname. The recordings of the late Professor Reaney, the famous English etymologist, suggest that the surname originates from a place in Cumberland called Stockow. This may well be the case, but if so this village seems to have totally disappeared, or perhaps the name has been amalgamated with some other place. An estimated five thousand British and Irish surnames originate from now totally "lost" medieval villages, of which the only public surviving memory may be the surname. The first known name spelling is believed to be that of Adam de Stochowe in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Cumberland in the year 1332. This was in the reign of King Edward 111 of England, (1327 - 1377). This name spelling suggests that it derives from the pre 7th century Olde English "stoc" meaning a meeting place or even a monastery, plus "hlaw", a hill. Given that Cumbria is almost all hills, this seems a logical translation. Locational surnames were usually given to people after they left their original homes and settled elsewhere. This certainly seems to be the case here, the surname rarely appearing in church recordings before the 19th century, but being well recorded in London! Examples taken from early surviving church registers include John Stokoe, whose daughter Lucia was christened at the church of St Ann's Soho, Westminster, on September 18th 1702, and William Stokoe, a witness at Alton Church, Cumberland, on September 5th 1714.
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