My surname history

Last name: Wilcox

 

This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin. It derives from the elements “Will”, a short form of William, with the addition of the hypocoristic suffix “cock or cockes, meaning son of, and later transposed to “cox”. William was the Norman form of the personal name Wilhem composed of the Germanic elements “wil”, meaning will or desire, and “helm”, meaning protection. William was introduced into England at the time of the Conquest, and within a very short period it became the most popular given name in England, mainly no doubt in honour of the Conqueror himself. The Olde English suffix cock was attached to personal names to denote a young lad, and became a generic term for a youth. The surname was first recorded in the mid 13th century (see below), and has many spelling forms ranging from Wilcock, Wilcocke and Wilcocks to Willcox and Willcocks. John Wilcokes was noted in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire (1316), and Thomas Wilcox (1549 – 1608) was a puritan divine, and a minister in the city of London. A coat of arms granted to the nameholders has the blazon of an ermine shield, chequy gold and red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wylcock. This was dated 1254, in the Assize Court Rolls of the county of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111, 1216 – 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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