This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, the surname may be a nickname for a naive person, from the Middle English "woodcock", a compound of the Olde English pre 7th Century "wude", wood, and "cocc", cock, bird, a bird easily caught. Roger Wudecoc is noted in the 1176 Pipe Rolls of Hertfordshire. Secondly, the surname may be locational from any of various places named with the Olde English elements "wudu", wood, and "cot", cottage, shelter, as for example, Woodcott in Cheshire and Hampshire, or from Woodcote in Hampshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and Shropshire. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Adam de Wudecota is listed in the Pipe Rolls of Shropshire (1193). In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Woodcock, Woodcocks and Woodcott. On November 4th 1565, William Woodcock married Johan Averidge at the Church of St. Mary at Hill, London, and the christening of Richard, son of Ambrose Woodcock, took place at St. Lawrence Jewry's, London, on March 14th 1585. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wdecoch, which was dated 1175, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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