COX Origins
Banburyshire Family History

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  • COCK - means Cockerel, fatty or red - of British origin. The British used it as a nickname to describe the ancestor's face, figure, temper, morals or habits.
  • COCK - means Heap or haycock - of Welsh origin. The Welsh used this name to record localities or places where ancestors originated.
  • COCKS - means son of Cock - of British origin.
  • COX - is a form of Cocks - of British origin.
  • COX - this is an English Patronymic Name (Patronymic surnames identify the father). In medieval times the term cock was used to denote a young man who 'strutted proudly like a rooster' and it came to designate any young man.
    A "Cox" served under William the Conqueror in 1066. His name was Walter de Chilworth. He reminded his friends of a rooster because of the way he fought in battle.

There is another derivation of the name Cox:

The MacCoilidh family, whose name was anglicised to Cox in the early years of the seventeenth century, was hereditary custodians of St. Berach's crosier and were 'coarbs' or lay abbots from Kilbarry in Ireland. The crosier is now in the Dublin Museum.

Lay preachers from Ireland are thought to have travelled through Oxfordshire in the 1650s, and were given alms which were recorded in the church warden's accounts.

Souldern seems to have been the hub of Cox recusancy (Catholicism) in the Banbury area because the manor was held by a recusant Cox family. This passage from "A history of the post-reformation Catholic missions in Oxfordshire"[1] relates:

"The last of the [WEEDON] family to hold Souldern manor was another John, who died in 1710 and devised all his property there to Samuel Cox, the infant son of Samuel Cox of Farningham (Kent) and his wife Alice, daughter of Richard Kilby of Souldern. ..."

The church yard in Souldern is teeming with Cox graves, and the church holds both Anglican and Catholic services.

It would be a very neat explanation for later Catholicism in the family if it could be shown that MacCoilidh / Cox lay preachers from Kilbarry settled in Souldern and that the Banbury Coxs were descended from them. There are, unfortunately, no relevant church warden accounts indicating alms given to MacCoilidh / Cox lay preachers, but more importantly there are no Cox baptisms, marriages and burials at Souldern prior to 1729. Nor are there any instances of MacCoilidh or Coilidh or similar. A wider search range of alternatives intended to catch an anglicised version of Coilidh such as:

Cock, Cocke, Cocks, Cocx, Cowx, Cox, Cox - Tyrrel, Cox ?, Cox Tyrrell, Cox/Box, Cox?, Coxall, Coxan, Cox-Busby, Coxcill, Coxcoat, Coxe, Coxed, Coxeelle, Coxehead, Coxeheade, Coxehill, Coxel, Coxeland, Coxell, Coxen, Coxes, Coxetar, Coxete, Coxeter, Coxetr, Coxetre, Coxetter, Coxhall, Coxhead, Coxheade, Coxhed, Coxheed, Coxhil, Coxhill, Coxhrad, Coxil, Coxill, Coxin, Coxister, Coxitar, Coxiter, Coxley, Coxon, Coxrell, Coxreter, Coxs, Cox's, Coxsell, Coxsetter, Cox'shead, Coxsil, Coxsittar, Coxson, Coxsonn, Coxter, Coxw, Coxwell, Coxwood, Coxwter, Coxx

failed to produce any references prior to 1729. We must therefore conclude that the Banbury Coxes cannot be descended from the Souldern Coxes as they predate them by over a century. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the Banbury Coxes are descended from the MacCoilidh / Cox lay preachers from Kilbarry.


Contributed by Nicholas Cox
Email: cox_family(@)
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