Cook Coat of ArmsThe name COOK follows a line reaching back through history to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It is a name for a seller of cooked meats, a keeper of an eating-house or someone who worked as a cook. The surname COOK is derived from the Old English word coc, which means cook.

Researchers found the first record of the name COOK in Essex where the family were seated from very ancient times following examination of such manuscripts as Domesday Book, the Ragman Rolls and the Curia Regis Rolls to name a few. In an early reference of Anglo Saxon Wills, the first record was the name was Aelfsige Coc (c.950) who is recorded more than one hundred years before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066.

In the 16th century even literate people such as William Shakespeare varied the spelling of their own names. The name, COOK, occurred in many manuscripts and from time to time the surname was spelt Cooke, Cook, Cocus with these changes in spelling occurring, even between father and son.There are many reasons for these spelling variations, for instance official court languages such as Latin and French had their influence on how a name was recorded.

The Anglo-Saxon tribes produced many surnames such as COOK. These founding cultures settled in England in about the 5th century A.D., and established several independent kingdoms; Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Kent, Essex, Sussex and East Anglia, collectively known as the Heptarchy. All of these rival kingdoms were unified in the 9th century by Egbert, King of Wessex.

In 1066, the relative peace under which the country had existed was shattered by the Norman invasion from France. At this time the victory at the Battle of Hastings meant that many Anglo-Saxon landholders lost their property to Duke William and his invading nobles.

The COOK family emerged as notable Englishmen in the county of Essex where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity. Acquiring the estates of Owston in the West Riding, the main branch of the family moved northward to Yorkshire within the next century. Meanwhile, junior branches were established at Somerset, Wiltshire and Sussex.

Headed by Sir Anthony Cooke, Tutor to King Edward VI, the Owston branch moved to Gwysaney in Flintshire, and the branch at The Peak in Derbyshire was headed by Sir Thomas Cook. They also moved north into Scotland, where “Cooke” became preferred spelling.

James Cook (1728 – 79), born in Yorkshire, was a famous navigator who explored the St. Lawrence, the shores of Newfoundland, circumnavigated and charted New Zealand, Australia and explored much of the Pacific and Southern Ocean. Killed by the natives in Hawaii, his last voyage was in 1779.

The COOK family flourished and contributed to English society throughout the Middle Ages. Later, conflicts between religious sects and between parliamentary and royalist forces made for an unstable society. Many families were banished by the prevailing powers for dissention, other families chose to leave.

Protestant settlers and soldiers in Ireland under Cromwell’s leadership were granted lands which had been confiscated from the native Catholic owners. In Ireland they settled in Leinster, Wexford, Kilkenny and Carlaw. Sir Richard Cooke was Secretary of the Exchequer for Ireland.

Some families risked the perilous journey to the New World in order that they might build a better future for themselves away from the uncertainty of life at home. Among the settlers, members of the COOK family boarded ships bound for Canada, the United States, Australia and other colonies held by the British crown.

Settlers bearing the surname COOK, or a variable spelling of that family name include Chas Cook who settled in Nova Scotia in 1749 with this wife, son and daughter; James Cook who settled in Maine in 1622; John Cook who settled in Maryland in 1634; Christn Cook who settled in Nova Scotia with his wife, son, 2 daughters and servant in 1749, Christopher Cooke who settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia between 1749 and 1752; Mark Cook who settled in Maine in 1622; George Cooke who settled in Virginia in 1623; Gerard Cooke who settled in Virginia in 1638; Arthur Cooke who settled in Virginia in 1623 and Cisby Cooke who settled in Virginia in 1622 with his wife.

From more recent history, distinguished individuals of the COOK family include Sir William Cook; Air Marshall Cook; Admiral Cook; Admiral John Cooke; Sir Charles Cooke; Sir Leonard Cooke and Rev. Canon Cooke.

The Motto for the Coat of Arms translates as: He shows the safe way.