Recorded as Swancote, Swancock, Swanncott, Swancott and possibly oithers, this is an English locational surname. It originates from either a patronymic of the surname Swan, to mean the son of somebody called Swan or more likely it is occupational and residential. If so it describes a person who was a swan-upper, and responsible for the well being of all the swans in his given area, and who as part of his job, lived at the local swan-cote. This was a place specifically set aside for swans. In medieval times the swan was the royal bird, and even today the monarch has special rights in regard to the keeping of swans on the River Thames. Occupational surnames were amongst the first to be created. However for many centuries they were not hereditary, and only became so when (usually) a son followed his father into the same line of business. It is unclear when this surname was first recorded, but in the surviving church registers of the city of London we have the pre Elizabethan recording of Thomas Swancock. He was buried at the church of St. Michael Cornhill in 1548, during the reign of the boy king Edward V1th (1547 - 1554), and later in 1759, the recording of John Swancot or Swancoate, at St George's, Hanover Square, Westminster, when he married a lady called Mary Bye.
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