Magazine of Virginia Genealogy
Vol. 45, No. 3
Origins of Richard Cocke of HenricoCounty, Virginia
by Steven R. Day
There have been severalattempts to determine the origins of Richard Cocke of HenricoCounty, Virginia whose lastwill and testament was dated 1665. New information has led to a determinationthat the earlier research incorrectly identified Richard’s parents andgrandparents. This new research hasidentified Richard’s father, grandparents, and other relatives.
James Southall published an article in the January 1935 issue of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. That article indicated that Richard Cocke andhis first wife had two sons: Richard and Thomas. In a legal document dated 1672, this ThomasCocke refers to himself as having previously lived at “Pick-thorn Farm in the Countyof Henrico”. Based on this clue, the researcher looked fora Cocke family in Pickthorn, Englandand found Pickthorn in Salop [Shropshire], England. A last will and testament of Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn,England dated 1587 wasfound. Southallconcluded that this Thomas must be a relative of Richard Cocke of HenricoCounty, Virginia.
A second articleappeared in 1986 in the VirginiaGenealogist. Based on the 1935article, additional research was conducted in Pickthorn,England. This research concluded that John Cocke, sonof the aforementioned Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn, was baptized 9 October 1569 in the Parish of Stottesdon which encompassed several small areas includingPickthorn. The 1986 research showed thatJohn Cocke wrote his will in 1630 naming a son, Richard. This Richard, son of John, who was baptizedin 1602 in Stottesdon, was identified as the RichardCocke of Henrico County, Virginia,who died in 1665.
We begin bychallenging the earlier research noting that the records for the Parish of Stottesdon, Englandindicate that three areas have Cocke families. 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 forRobert Cocke of Walfurlong dated 1582. This will lists Robert’s children as John andAnne. Robert’s will also states that hisson, John, had children Robert and Dorothy. The 1630 will of John Cocke (previously described) properly lists John Cocke’s children as Robert, Dorothy, Ursula, Thomas, Anne,Jane, Richard, and Edward. What was notmentioned in the earlier research was that the 1630 will of John Cockeidentifies him as living in Walfurlong, notPickthorn. These two wills clearly show that John Cockeof Walfurlong (with children Robert and Dorothy) wasthe son of Robert Cocke of Walfurlong thus disprovingthe earlier theory that John Cocke with a will dated 1630 was the son of ThomasCocke of Pickthorn. The records for theParish of Stottesdon also show that Richard Cocke of Walfurlong was buried on 6 December 1632. Richard Cocke of HenricoCounty, Virginia was living in Virginiain 1632. Not only was John Cocke of Walfurlong not the son of Thomas of Pickthorn, he was notthe father of Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia.
If John Cocke ofWalfurlong was not the father of Richard Cocke ofHenrico County, Virginia, then who was the father? We return to the clues found in the January1935 issue of the Virginia Magazine ofHistory and Biography. Richard waslikely from Pickthorn, England. Our new search for Cocke family found thattwo 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 ofThomas Cocke listed more than 40 people! First, we note that Thomas listed hischildren as Elizabeth, Eleanor, Anne, Alice, and Joane. (He also listed the spouses and the childrenof his daughters.) The will lists nosons. Next, we note that Thomas Cocke’s will listed his brother Humfreyand his sister Margery. Finally and mostimportantly, Thomas Cocke’s will listed hissister-in-law Elizabeth and kin Thomas, William, Margery, and Robert. All were Cockes.
A William Cockeof Pickthorn wrote a last will and testament dated 1582. William’s will lists his wife as Elizabethand his children as Thomas, William, Margery, and John. All of these children are identified as beingunmarried. The will also lists William’sbrother as Thomas. This brother, Thomas,is clearly the Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn who wrote his will in 1587. William’s wife Elizabeth, children Thomas,William, Margery, and brother Thomas are all found in both the 1582 will ofWilliam and the 1587 will of Thomas. William Cocke’s last will and testament alsolists Ursula, daughter of his son Richard. This Richard Cocke was likely born before 1560 and is too old to beRichard of Henrico County, Virginia whose last will and testament was dated 105years later in 1665.
One of the sonsof William Cocke of Pickthorn (whose will is dated 1582) is most likely thefather 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 Cockein the Stottesdon area between 1565 and 1633. Many documents were found including last willsand testaments, parish records for baptisms, and burials. These records identified five people namedRichard Cocke. A review of the recordsregarding each of these five Richard Cockes follows.
The first RichardCocke was the son of William Cocke of Pickthorn described above. His father’s last will and testament dated1582 indicated that Richard had a daughter, Ursula. Stottesdon parishrecords show that Ursula, daughter of Richard Cocke, was baptized 4 April 1580. More importantly, this Richard Cocke wasburied on 4 December 1583. His last will and testament confirms that hewas not Richard Cocke of the Heath (described later), who was baptized only one year earlier in 1582. Neither was this the Richard Cocke who isfound in Virginia in 1632.
The secondRichard Cocke was mentioned in the last will and testament of his father,William Cocke, dated 1602. Several documents were examined in order toestimate the birth date of the second Richard Cocke. William Cocke’slast will and testament of 1602 indicated that the second Richard Cocke’s brother, John, had two sons named William andThomas. The Stottesdonparish records show the baptism for these (Richard’s nephews) as follows:William baptized on 19 February 1594/5and Thomas baptized on 24 June 1601. If weallow for John Cocke to have been at least 20 years old when his son Williamwas baptized, then John would have been born in no later than 1574. Allowing for John’s brother, Richard, to beno more than 10 years younger, Richard would have been born in 1584 orearlier. This again seems to identify aRichard Cocke who is too old to be Richard Cocke of Virginiawho first married c1632 and who died c1665. We have already shown that the second Richard Cocke’sbrother (John) was born by 1574. Thus weknow 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 1582last will and testament of his father, William Cocke of Pickthorn. This second Richard Cocke’sfamily was clearly not descended from William Cocke of Pickthorn. It would appear that this second RichardCocke is also not Richard Cocke of Henrico County,Virginia.
The thirdRichard Cocke is found in the Stottesdon parishrecords as son of John Cocke of the Heath, baptized 24 October 1582. This third Richard Cocke was also too old tobe Richard Cocke of Virginia whofirst married near 1632. This family (ofthe Heath) is not of Pickthorn. This isnot Richard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia.
The fourthRichard Cocke was mentioned in the last will and testament of his father, JohnCocke of Walfurlong, dated 1630 (as described in the1986 research). Two years later, RichardCocke of Walfurlong was buried on 6 December 1632. This is clearly not Richard Cocke who wasliving in Henrico County, Virginiain 1632.
The fifthRichard Cocke, son of Thomas Cocke, was baptized in the Parish of Sidbury on 13 December1597. Sidbury is one milefrom Pickthorn, which is one-fourth mile closer than the Parish of Stottesdon. On acold December day, one can easily imagine that walking a shorter distance witha baby would be very desirable. Who wasthis Thomas Cocke? He was not ThomasCocke, son of John Cocke of Walfurong, baptized in1616. He was not Thomas Cocke, son of John Cocke,baptized in 1601. He was not Thomas Cocke of Pickthorn, buriedon 4 August 1587. This Thomas was the son of William Cocke (died1582) of Pickthorn. The records for theParish of Stottesdon also show that Thomas Cocke ofPickthorn had a daughter, Eleanor, baptized on 19 December 1591. This fifth Richard Cocke fits the profile ofRichard Cocke of Henrico County, Virginia.
Based upon thisnew 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 hada sister, Eleanor (born 1691) and grand parents William and ElizabethCocke. The last will and testament of hisgrandfather William (dated 1582) shows that Richard’s uncles and aunt wereRichard, William, John, and Margery. Richard’s great uncle was Thomas Cocke ofPickthorn who died in 1587 and was previously believed (in error) to beRichard’s grandfather. All of thisfamily lived in Pickthorn, Shropshire, England.