Origins of the Name

full_shield

Ancient History of the Pidcock Surname

The Anglo Saxons first arrived in England about the year 380 A.D. Emerging from the mists of time was the ancient posterity of Pidcock, and the distinguished history of this surname is closely interwoven into the majestic fabric of the ancient chronicles of England.

Professional analysts have carefully researched such ancient manuscripts as the Domesday Book complied in 1086 A.D., the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296), the Curia Regis Rolls, The Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals, tax records and other ancient documents and found the first records of the name Pidcock, in Somerset where they were seated from early census rolls taken by the early Kings in Britian to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Many different spelling versions were found in the archives researched. Pidcock occurred in many different manuscripts, and from time to time the surname included the spellings of Pidcock, Piddock, Pidocock, Pitcock, Pittock, and these variations in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. Frequently a person was born with one spelling, married with another, and died another. Scribes and church officials spelled the name as it was told to them.

The Pidcock name is believed to be descended originally from the ancient Anglo/Saxon race. This founding race, a fair skinned people led by General/Commanders Hengist and Horsa, settled in England about the year 400 A.D. They came from northern Germany, as far south and west as the Rhine Valley and settled firstly in Kent on the south east coast.

Gradually, they probed north and westward from Kent and during the next four hundred years forced the Ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall to the west, and won territories as far north as Lancashire and Yorkshire pushing the Ancient Britons to the Cumbria and southern Scotland. The Angles, on the other hand, occupied the eastern coast, the south folk in Suffolk, the north folk, in Norfolk. The Angles sometimes invaded as far north as Northumbria and the Scottish border. The Anglo/Saxon five century rule was an uncertain time, and the nation divided into five separate kindoms, a high king being elected as supreme ruler. Alfred the Great emerged in the 9th century as the Saxon leader to dispel the Danish invasion. This Viking intrusion, first successful, did more to unite England than any other factor.

In 1066, England, under King Harold, was enjoying reasonable peace and prosperity. However, the Norman invasion from France occured and their victory at the Battle of Hastings, found many of the vanquished Saxon land owners to be forfeited their land by Duke William and his invading nobles. The Saxons were restive under Norman rule and many moved northward to the midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire where Norman influence prevailed less. Rebellious Norman nobles frequently joined then in their flight northward.

‘Pied-cock’

Validated by its use on the Pidcock Coat of Arms. Charles Pidcock (1809-1896) was granted the Armorial Bearings of the Pidcock family by patent dated September 10th 1852. The acorns, the bar-shot, and the motto, “SEIGNEUR JE TE PRIE GARDE MA VIE”, are derived from the Henzey bearings, the cock is allusive to the name, and the griffin segreant is the crest of Hamond. The Henzey family were Hugenot glass makers known to have settled near Worcestershire in the early 17th century. William Pidcock (1667-1724) married Elizabeth Henzey (1675-1744), heiress to the Henzey family of glassmakers. Hamond was the family name of Charles’ maternal greatgrandmother.

Diminuative of Given Name

David Hey says, “another way of creating a pet name, from the twelfth century onwards, was to add the suffix -cock to a shortened form of one of the personal names”, but not to be confused with nicknames from birds, such as Peacock. Ancestry.com offers spelling variations: English (Leicestershire): from a Middle English pet form (with the diminutive suffix -cok) of an unattested Old English personal name, Pydda. The Surname Dictionary gives the ‘Pid’ and ‘Pit’ bits from old English names of ‘Pydda’ and Pytta’. In early English the ‘pyde’ sometimes meant ‘paid’.

Suffix meaning “son of”

College of Heraldry says that “cock” as a suffix means “son of” and that Pidcock could be “son of Peter”. The Flemish equivalent of Peter is Piet or Pieter. Maybe our progeniture was Pieter was a merchant from Flanders leading to Gilbert Pyttecocke mentioned in 1298 Cambridgeshire.

Nickname

‘Cock’ was also a nickname given to a boy who “strutted” like a cockeral, so there are several ways ‘cock’ could have become part of the names Pidcock and Pitcock. The ‘pied’ bit could refer to a person who liked to wear bright or many colours, so the name could be given to someone who strutted about wearing bright or many coloured clothing, so it is possible that in this way it could refer to several separate origins for the name. However the early records spell it as ‘Pydecock(e)’ or ‘Pytecock(e)’.

Occurrences of the Name

Surnames began in England shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066, but it was 2-3 centuries before they became common.  In the 11th, 12th and early 13th centuries family names became used among the nobility but the majority were known simply by their christian names.  It was only as the population increased, and especially after the ‘Black Death’ of 1347-1350, that surnames came into general use.  The Poll Tax lists that survive from 1379 show many still without a proper surname, being known by the job they did, where they lived or whose son they were; these were the early origins of surnames.

Our name is mentioned back to the 13th century according to the ‘A Dictionary of English Surnames’ by P.H. Reaney and R.M. Wilson.:

PIDCOCK: Adam Pydecock 1301 SRY (Subsidy Rolls, Yorkshire); Robert Pydecock 1306 AssW (Assize Rolls, Wiltshire).
PITCOCK: Pitecoc, filius Sononis 1221 AssWa (Assize Rolls, Warwickshire); William Pitecok 1301 (Estate surveys of the Fitzalan Earls of Arundel, Sussex); Henry Pitecok 1332 SRWa (Subsidy Rolls, Warwickshire).

These counties: Yorkshire, Wiltshire, Warwickshire and Sussex are not where Pidcocks were living when parish registers were begun in 1538, although Yorkshire boundaries with north Derbyshire and Warwickshire touches on the southernmost tip of Derbyshire; Wiltshire is further south and Sussex is on the south-east coast.
Parish registers began in England in 1538, but many were kept on separate sheets and became lost. An order was passed in 1597 that all parish register records were to be copied into parchment books and many have survived from this date.  However early records are quite often very hard to read due to faded and damaged pages, the quality of writing etc.  The earliest records found for the Pidcocks are in London (1560 & 1561), Derby (1562 & 1565), Darley (from 1570 up to the present day); Wirksworth (from 1613) and Bakewell (from 1616.)

As many people could not write up to the 19th century, names in these early registers depended on dialect and how the parish clerk heard and interpreted what was said, which probably accounts for the various spellings of ‘Pidcock’ and the occasional writing of it as ‘Pitcock’.

 Parish records list, PIDCOCK in Derbyshire and London during the late 1500s, and PITCOCK in Derbyshire in the early 1600s.  In some early Parish Registers one child of a family is christened as Pidcock and another as Pitcock, so it all depended on how the clerk heard and spelt the name as most people could not write at that time.