Sheffield and Yorkshire

The origins of Cockayne families in Sheffield and Yorkshire are uncertain and its likely that there were several founders for the many families present in the area through the 19th and 20th centuries. 

The earliest record in the St. Peter's Parish Church (which became the cathedral) register was the burial of the infant Michael Cockaine, son of Geo', in 1685.  Related records seem to be: Georg's Cockin married Jana Heeley on 30 January 1665; Jana, wife of Georg' Cocking, buried on 24 April 1694; Georgius Cocking, clothier, buried on 29 December 1703.  There are no other records relating to this family, but there are a few additional 17th century records that might relate to Cockaynes in Sheffield.  The earliest is the burial of a Johan' Cockin on 7 July 1637, and there are two marriages: Alice Cockin with William Greene on 12 June 1654 (Alice was the daughter of Edward Cockin of Howden); Doroth' Cockin with Johan Jowett on 30 June 1675.

In 1720, John Cockin (shoe maker) married Elizabeth Brownell on 27 December.  They had five children: Francis (baptised 21 Dec 1721); Lidia (24 Jul 1723, and buried 5 Feb 1725); Anne (12 Apr 1726); Samuel (29 Dec 1727); Elizabeth (28 Oct 1731). John was buried on 9 September 1733.  Contemporary with this family was the marriage of Elizabeth Cockin with Merideth Vaughan, a cutler, on 13 August 1727, and it is possible that Elizabeth and John were siblings.

There is a lack of evidence in the parish records of any continuity between these two periods, and with a third group of records: Dorothy daughter of John Cockin, scissorsmith, baptised 18 Jul 1764; Stephen son of Francis Cockin, scissorsmith, baptised 31 Mar 1766; Thomas son of Thomas Cockin, cutler, baptised 28 Dec 1766. Further research is needed to interpret whether these are gaps in the records or are genuine gaps in occupation.  Records suggest that the period 1740 to 1780 was the main period of establishment of Cockayne families in Sheffield, with the three fathers mentioned above establishing family branches alongside several other contemporary families.  At least one of these families originated from outside of Yorkshire; Henry Cockaine from Chesterfield in Derbyshire married Mary Platts on 24 Jan 1781 at St. Peter's, Sheffield.

We have much more research to do to add to our understanding of Cockayne families in Yorkshire, but in the meantime present a number of short pedigrees (see links below).  These pedigrees may well include errors in interpretation of relatedness and we would be keen to hear from family members with additional evidence to help clarify the pedigrees. We thank John Cockayne for providing data on some of the Sheffield Cockaynes, especially the stemma originating with Peter Cockayne (1747).


Estimated birth year 

 Wife/ wives

John Cockin, scissorsmith (single daugther Dorothy)1740
Francis Cockin, scissorsmith1745Hannah Hancock
Thomas Cockin, cutler1745 ?
Farewell Cockayne, joiner (single daughter Lucy)1750 (or earlier)Elizabeth Twigg 
James Cockayn, scissorsmith1750 

Ann Roberts/ Mary Hutton

John Cocking, scissorsmith1750 Elizabeth Warren 
John Cockayne, gardener1750 Mary Dakin/ Sarah Cook 
William Cockayne, breeches maker1750Martha Booth/ Sarah Havenhand 
Henry Cockaine, labourer1760 Mary Platts 
James Cockayne, mason1760 Millicent Hall 
Francis Cockayne, file smith1765 Sarah Ibberson/ Ann Taylor 
James Cocking, cutler (single daugther Mary)1770 Sarah Basington 
Thomas Cockayne (no children)1770 Martha Marsland 
William Cockin, cutler (see Thomas Cockin 1745)1775 Amelia Greaves 
James Cockayne, hatter (see Thomas Cockin 1745)1780 Sarah Scholes 
 Peter Cockayne, flaxdresser1747 Mary Fowlston


Baptism data extracted from the Sheffield Archives transcripts of the St. Peter's, Sheffield, registers have been added to our database.