Origins of the COCKERLINE surname

Note: The following was found in the files of Helen Margaret COCKERLINE. There is no hint as to the origins of this document. I presume she had been in touch with a researcher in London, and received this opinion about the possible origins of the COCKERLINE surname. - Glenn


In an index to parish records in England for the year 1601, the name Cockerline is listed under one reference only: Yorkshire, Howden, by G. E. Weddall. This is recorded in Volumes 21 & 24 combined, 1904-5, in the Yorkshire Parish Register Society. These records are available to researchers today, and I believe some volumes are still carried by the John P. Robarts library at the University of Toronto. There is a further record in 1601 of the surname Cockline, the source being Hallen's London City Registers, Vol. 2, 1889, under St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, by A. W. C. Hallen, Scot, etc.

There is a strong probability here of these being the same name originally and both sources should be checked. There is record in the U.S., dated May 7th, 1679, of "Mary ye wife of Denis Cocklin" - again, this may or may not be the same name. One authority believes the ending of this name (the suffix) is more indicative of English/Scottish names , but my present belief is that there is a stronger possibility that the name is of French origin.

In the early 1800's a French survey of surnames in the Pas-de-Calais region of France lists the name Cocquelin as occurring in two villages: Boulogne-sur-Mer and Marquise. Checking the spelling more closely, I found the alternate spelling Coquelin in no less than 8 villages, again in Pas-de-Calais. In records from Picarde, France, there is a record of one Jaquot Coquelin, living in 1448 A.D., and these records, I believe, are accessible.

Following this I attempted to discover the meaning and origin of Coquelin. One French authority defines the name this way: "artesiens representent l'adaptation du flamand (i.e. Flemish) Kochlen, (ou) petit cuisinier"! Note: Adaptation of the Flemish KOCHLEN (or) assistant cook.

The reference to a Flemish name produced no further results than confirming the existence of the name in Belgium. I think the name began in France, but the root word for the name was from a Flemish word or name.

Centuries ago there were two registration of arms (coats of arms), and it appears that the two individuals who registered these arms were French counts, one of them perhaps a Marquis (see attached photocopy). This opens up easier avenues of investigation, for genealogies were usually completed before such arms were granted. Note: The "attached photocopy" was not found in her files.

A French authority shows these spelling forms in France: Coclin, Coqblin, Coqueblin - all as variations under Coq.
The same author shows Coclin as a contraction of Coquelin. By the same token, this common occurrence leads me to surmise that the English Cocklin(e) is also a contraction of Cockerline . The strongest clue from this research is that we have located a source dating to 1601 showing the exact spelling COCKERLINE. This should be thoroughly checked out.

Secondly, we have shown that there is reasonable cause to at least suspect the name as coming into the British Isles from France at some point prior to the 1600's.

There is the possibility, of course, that this is an extremely rare English name, possibly used only by one or a few families. This probability, although small, is strengthened by the fact that scores of British intensive works on surnames do not even mention the name at all.

Noel Elliot,
September, 1979