Magazine of Virginia Genealogy

Vol. 45, No. 3

August 2007

 

Origins of Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia

by Steven R. Day

 

There have been several attempts to determine the origins of Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia whose last will and testament was dated 1665.[1]New information has led to a determination that the earlier research incorrectly identified Richardís parents and grandparents.This new research has identified Richardís father, grandparents, and other relatives.

 

James Southall published an article in the January 1935 issue of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.[2] That article indicated that Richard Cocke and his first wife had two sons: Richard and Thomas.In a legal document dated 1672, this Thomas Cocke refers to himself as having previously lived at ďPick-thorn Farm in the County of HenricoĒ.[3]Based on this clue, the researcher looked for a Cocke family in Pickthorn, England and found Pickthorn in Salop [Shropshire], England.A last will and testament of Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn, England dated 1587 was found.Southall concluded that this Thomas must be a relative of Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia.

 

A second article appeared in 1986 in the Virginia Genealogist.Based on the 1935 article, additional research was conducted in Pickthorn, England.This research concluded that John Cocke, son of the aforementioned Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn, was baptized 9 October 1569 in the Parish of Stottesdon which encompassed several small areas including Pickthorn.The 1986 research showed that John Cocke wrote his will in 1630 naming a son, Richard.This Richard, son of John, who was baptized in 1602 in Stottesdon, was identified as the Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia, who died in 1665.[4]

 

We begin by challenging the earlier research noting that the records for the Parish of Stottesdon, England indicate that three areas have Cocke families.[5]These are Pickthorne, Walfurlong, and the Heath.Most of the communities in Stottesdon had 3 to 10 families.A last will and testament was found for Robert Cocke of Walfurlong dated 1582.[6]This will lists Robertís children as John and Anne.Robertís will also states that his son, John, had children Robert and Dorothy.The 1630 will of John Cocke (previously described) properly lists John Cockeís children as Robert, Dorothy, Ursula, Thomas, Anne, Jane, Richard, and Edward.What was not mentioned in the earlier research was that the 1630 will of John Cocke identifies him as living in Walfurlong, not Pickthorn.[7]These two wills clearly show that John Cocke of Walfurlong (with children Robert and Dorothy) was the son of Robert Cocke of Walfurlong thus disproving the earlier theory that John Cocke with a will dated 1630 was the son of Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn.The records for the Parish of Stottesdon also show that Richard Cocke of Walfurlong was buried on 6 December 1632.[8]Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia was living in Virginia in 1632.Not only was John Cocke of Walfurlong not the son of Thomas of Pickthorn, he was not the father of Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia.

 

If John Cocke of Walfurlong was not the father of Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia, then who was the father?We return to the clues found in the January 1935 issue of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.Richard was likely from Pickthorn, England.Our new search for Cocke family found that two Cocke families lived in Pickthorn in the 1580s.As discovered in the previous research, Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn wrote his will in 1587.It is important to note that the will of Thomas Cocke listed more than 40 people![9]First, we note that Thomas listed his children as Elizabeth, Eleanor, Anne, Alice, and Joane.(He also listed the spouses and the children of his daughters.)The will lists no sons.Next, we note that Thomas Cockeís will listed his brother Humfrey and his sister Margery.Finally and most importantly, Thomas Cockeís will listed his sister-in-law Elizabeth and kin Thomas, William, Margery, and Robert.All were Cockes.

 

A William Cocke of Pickthorn wrote a last will and testament dated 1582.[10]Williamís will lists his wife as Elizabeth and his children as Thomas, William, Margery, and John.All of these children are identified as being unmarried.The will also lists Williamís brother as Thomas.This brother, Thomas, is clearly the Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn who wrote his will in 1587.Williamís wife Elizabeth, children Thomas, William, Margery, and brother Thomas are all found in both the 1582 will of William and the 1587 will of Thomas.William Cockeís last will and testament also lists Ursula, daughter of his son Richard.This Richard Cocke was likely born before 1560 and is too old to be Richard of Henrico County, Virginia whose last will and testament was dated 105 years later in 1665.

 

One of the sons of William Cocke of Pickthorn (whose will is dated 1582) is most likely the father of Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia, but which son of William of Pickthorn?To answer this question, we searched for all people named Richard Cocke in the Stottesdon area between 1565 and 1633. Many documents were found including last wills and testaments, parish records for baptisms, and burials.These records identified five people named Richard Cocke.A review of the records regarding each of these five Richard Cockes follows.

 

The first Richard Cocke was the son of William Cocke of Pickthorn described above.His fatherís last will and testament dated 1582 indicated that Richard had a daughter, Ursula.Stottesdon parish records show that Ursula, daughter of Richard Cocke, was baptized 4 April 1580.[11] More importantly, this Richard Cocke was buried on 4 December 1583.[12] His last will and testament confirms that he was not Richard Cocke of the Heath(described later), who was baptized only one year earlier in 1582.[13]Neither was this the Richard Cocke who is found in Virginia in 1632.

 

The second Richard Cocke was mentioned in the last will and testament of his father, William Cocke, dated 1602.[14]Several documents were examined in order to estimate the birth date of the second Richard Cocke.William Cockeís last will and testament of 1602 indicated that the second Richard Cockeís brother, John, had two sons named William and Thomas.The Stottesdon parish records show the baptism for these (Richardís nephews) as follows: William baptized on 19 February 1594/5 and Thomas baptized on 24 June 1601.[15] If we allow for John Cocke to have been at least 20 years old when his son William was baptized, then John would have been born in no later than 1574.Allowing for Johnís brother, Richard, to be no more than 10 years younger, Richard would have been born in 1584 or earlier.This again seems to identify a Richard Cocke who is too old to be Richard Cocke of Virginia who first married c1632 and who died c1665.We have already shown that the second Richard Cockeís brother (John) was born by 1574.Thus we know that William Cocke who wrote his will in 1602 and who had a son (John) born before 1574, is not the William Cocke identified as unmarried in the 1582 last will and testament of his father, William Cocke of Pickthorn.This second Richard Cockeís family was clearly not descended from William Cocke of Pickthorn.It would appear that this second Richard Cocke is also not Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia.

 

The third Richard Cocke is found in the Stottesdon parish records as son of John Cocke of the Heath, baptized 24 October 1582.[16] This third Richard Cocke was also too old to be Richard Cocke of Virginia who first married near 1632.This family (of the Heath) is not of Pickthorn.This is not Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia.

 

The fourth Richard Cocke was mentioned in the last will and testament of his father, John Cocke of Walfurlong, dated 1630 (as described in the 1986 research).Two years later, Richard Cocke of Walfurlong was buried on 6 December 1632.[17]This is clearly not Richard Cocke who was living in Henrico County, Virginia in 1632.

 

The fifth Richard Cocke, son of Thomas Cocke, was baptized in the Parish of Sidbury on 13 December 1597.[18]Sidbury is one mile from Pickthorn, which is one-fourth mile closer than the Parish of Stottesdon.On a cold December day, one can easily imagine that walking a shorter distance with a baby would be very desirable.Who was this Thomas Cocke?He was not Thomas Cocke, son of John Cocke of Walfurong, baptized in 1616.[19] He was not Thomas Cocke, son of John Cocke, baptized in 1601.[20]He was not Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn, buried on 4 August 1587.[21] This Thomas was the son of William Cocke (died 1582) of Pickthorn.The records for the Parish of Stottesdon also show that Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn had a daughter, Eleanor, baptized on 19 December 1591.[22] This fifth Richard Cocke fits the profile of Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia.

 

Based upon this new information, we now have Richard Cocke of Virginia (died c1665) baptized in Sidbury, Shropshire, England on 13 December 1597.The son of Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn, he had a sister, Eleanor (born 1691) and grand parents William and Elizabeth Cocke.The last will and testament of his grandfather William (dated 1582) shows that Richardís uncles and aunt were Richard, William, John, and Margery.[23]Richardís great uncle was Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn who died in 1587 and was previously believed (in error) to be Richardís grandfather.All of this family lived in Pickthorn, Shropshire, England.



[1] Henrico Co. Miscellaneous Records, Vol. 1, p. 27.[No date of probate was recorded.]

[2] James P. C. Southall, ďMalvern Hills, Henrico County, and Edgemont, Albemarle County, Homes of James Powell Cocke and James Powell CockeĒ, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 42 (January 1935): 74-91.

[3] Henrico County Deeds and Wills, 1688-1697, p. 245.

[4] Virginia Webb Cocke, ďThomas Cocke of Pickthorn,Ē The Virginia Genealogist, 30 (1986): 26-30.

[5] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 3-17, 19-22, 24-8, 30-34, 36-40, 46-52, 60, 64, 66-7, 69-73, 79-82, 85, 87, 90, 94, 98, 100, 104, 111-3.

[6] Last Will and Testament of Robert Cocke of Walfurlong, 1582, Hereford Record Office probate records, 13/2/46.

[7] Last Will and Testament of John Cocke of Walfurlong, 1630, Hereford Record Office probate records, 40/2/202.

[8] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 52.

[9] Last Will and Testament of Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn, 1587, Hereford Record Office probate records.

[10] Last Will and Testament of William Cocke of Pickthorn, 1582, Hereford Record Office probate records, 13/2/45.

[11] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 11.

[12] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 13.

[13] Last Will and Testament of Richard Cocke of Pickthorn, 1583, Hereford Record Office probate records, 13/2/47.

[14] Last Will and Testament of William Cocke, 1602, Hereford Record Office probate records, 5/4/20.

[15] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 22, 27.

[16] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 13.

[17] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 52.

[18] Baptism Record for Richard Cocke, 1597, Sidbury Parish Register, P61/A/1.

[19] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 40.

[20] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 27.

[21] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 16.

[22] CFR Potter, The Parish Registers of Stottesdon, Shropshire, 1565-1712, (unpublished typescript, 2005), 20.

[23] It is worth noting that Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia, had children: Thomas (named after his father and great uncle), William (named after his grandfather and uncle), John (named after his uncle), and Elizabeth (named after his grandmother).