Coker Coat of Arms
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Origin, Meaning, Family History and Coker Coat of Arms and Family Crest
The surname Coker is thought to have derived from one of two sources. The first states the name or any variation of its spelling possibly came about from the Old English word “cocc”, a descriptive phrase or word whose origins meant “son” or “a son”. Due to the significance of a male child, the context of the word also came to used to mean “fighter” or “warrior” as it was assumed a son would be responsible for the defense of his family and their honor. Over time, the word became less and less associated with the meaning of “son” until it was no longer used in this context and only referred to a “warrior” or “soldier”. The second source of origin theorizes the surname comes from the Medieval English word “cocks”, an occupational name for a person who made hay ricks or stacks.
This was considered one of the most important professions of its day, it was of vital importance that feed be properly preserved during the winter months to ensure the survival of livestock.
Variations of this name include; Coker, Cocker, Cockere, Coaker, Cokers, and Kokkere, among others. The variation in spelling of names during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time.
The first records of any variation of the name Coker can be found in public records dated 1198, where Henri Cockere’s name appears in the County of Kent Pipe Rolls which were comprised on order by England’s King Richard 1st.. Public records from Berkshire dated 1237 list an individual with an alternate spelling of the surname, Geoffrey Cockere. In addition there are listings in public records from Staffordshire dated 1327 for Adam Le Kokkere, St. Giles Cripplegate, London dated 1583 for James Cocker, Manchester dated 1584 for William Cocker, and Yorkshire dated 1582 for Johes Cocker.
The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the surname Coker or any variation of the spelling was John Coker who landed and settled in Virginia in 1623. Robert Coker who sailed on the “Mary and John”, landed and settled in Massachusetts in 1632. Jo Coker landed in 1635 and settled in Virginia as did John Coker who arrived in 1636.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Coker live in New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Coker live in South Carolina.
One of the earliest people of note who bear the surname or any variation of its spelling appears in the 12th century where there are records and documents listing and bearing the signature of Geoffery de Cocre. de Cocre is a descendant of Geoffrey De Mandeville who came to Britain in 1066 with William the Conqueror, his name is among those listed in the Domesday Book. De Mandeville was rewarded for his fealty and service during the Norman conquest of Britain by being titled, Earl of Essex. De Mandeville was also given a barony which gave him ownership of the area of East Coker and the majority of North Coker. Records and documents from the 12th century list or bear the signature of Geoffrey de Cocre, De Mandeville’s grandson, showing that he eschewed the use of the surname De Mandeville in lieu of the name de Cocre. Records also reflect that Robert Coker who sailed to America in 1632 on the “Mary and John” is descended from this line.
There are many other persons of note who bear the surname Coker. Alexander Coker of the United Kingdom received a PhD. D from King’s College London. Dr. Coker was appointed by the United Nations as Chief Inspector of the Chemical Weapons team in Iraq. It was under his direction that any chemical weapons found were properly and safely destroyed.
James Lide Coker of South Carolina was a businessman and philanthropist. Included in his many business ventures, he founded the Southern Novelty Company which later went on to be known as Sonoco Products Company, what is now one of the world’s largest manufacturer of packing and packaging supplies. Coker also went on to found the school that would become known as Coker College for Women. The endowment given by Coker when the school opened in 1908 has helped to ensure its continued operation. The original structure, Davidson Hall, which was built by funding from Coker and served as the college’s main building, still stands on the campus today and as of 1983 was listed on National Register of Historic Places.
Coker Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Coker blazon are the bend, leopard’s face and moor’s head. The three main tinctures (colors) are or, argent and gules .
Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 1The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 2Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 3A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77.
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.6The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 7Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 8Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right 9Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 39-40. Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). 10A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P22. The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank 11The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P49.
The leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry 12A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lion. Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome ”hazardous things by force and courage” 13The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P65
The head of a Moor is frequently borne on the arms of those at one time involved with crusades, possibly associated with some “deeds of prowess”. 14The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P93 The head is shown typically in a realistic fashion but the precise details are left to the imagination and skills of the artist! 15A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Head