The Cockayne family in Staffordshire

The origin of the Cockayne families in Staffordshire is probably down to William Cokayne, younger son of Francis Cokayne and Dorothy Marrow of Ashbourne (see the Cockayne Memoranda).  This link into the wider family was kindly highlighted by a member of the Staffordshire Cockayne branch of the family, who has researched the early origins of that branch; we would like to thank this researcher and we hope to add more detail on this in future.

The main centre for Cockaynes in Staffordshire is Bloxwich, which is a village just to the north of Walsall and includes Blakenall Heath.  Connected to this family centre are the small villages of Norton Canes and Little Wyrley lying just a few miles north of Bloxwich.  Some Cockaynes appear in other parts of Staffordshire, including Burton-on-Trent and Rugeley, but again we need to do more research to fit them into the broader Cokayne pedigree.

We have transcribed some data from the Bloxwich, Norton Canes and Walsall Parish Registers and these are included in the database.  However, they are not complete and so we will add more to the database in future when able to do so.

From the information we have collated to date, from Parish Registers, census returns and marriage records, we present a Stemma for the Bloxwich Cockaynes.  It does not contain all of the Cockaynes registered in this area as for a number of individuals and families we are not yet confident where they fit.

The first of the Bloxwich Cockaynes that we can find in records is Humphrey Cockin who was probably born around 1650 in Staffordshire - this record is from the IGI and we have not yet been able to confirm it.  This Humphrey is likely to have been the great grandson of Francis Cokayne and Dorothy Marrow of Ashbourne.  His son, also Humphrey, was according to the IGI born in Walsall in 1678, but again we have not yet confirmed this information.  The Bloxwich Parish Register does record the burial of a Humphrey in 1750, stating that he was of Wolverhampton, and it seems likely that this burial record relates to this second Humphrey.  This Humphrey (1678-1750) had at least three surviving sons who married and had families, giving rise to the Bloxwich and Norton Canes Cockaynes. 

The early registers record the name as Cockin or Cocking, and the spelling Cockayne did not appear until about 1806.  This seems to coincide with a change in handwriting within the Bloxwich register and might suggest a new vicar with experience of the name from elsewhere.  The spelling was adopted quickly in Walsall and carried through into the Norton Canes registers.

Social History in Bloxwich

A short introduction to Bloxwich history can be found on the Walsall Council website; like many villages prior to industrialisation it was primarily a small farming community.  Many Cockayne family members worked in the metal working industries for which the area was renowned in the 19th century, including the manufacture of horse tack.  Others worked in the local coal mines.