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This interesting surname, found in England, Scotland and Ireland, has a number of possible origins. Firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, from the Olde English pre 7th Century and Middle English "dunn", meaning "dull, brown, dark-coloured", and was a nickname for a man with dark hair or a swarthy complexion. It may also have originated from an unrecorded Middle English survival of an Olde Engl.....

Heraldry Database: Cook


Surname:  Cook
Branch:  Cook
Origins:  British
More Info:  England

Background:  An English occupational name for a cook, a man who sold cooked meats, or the keeper of an eating house. Derived from Old English "coc" meaning cook.

Motto:  Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito, Yield not to misfortunes, but go the more boldly against them.
Arms:  Or, a chev. betw. two lions, passant, guardant, sa.
Crest:  A demi lion, passant, guardant, sa. ducally gorged or.

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In medieval times Cook refers to a household servant rather than a craftsman, but a very important one. Later on we will take a look at a typical large household with servants of many kinds. We need not wonder that Cook is by far the most numerous of them, for every establishment of any size from a royal castle to the smallest manor house or inn, even a camp of outlaws in the forest, had a cook. There were many cooks in Duke William's army when he sailed from Normandy. We see them in the Bayeux tapestry busily roasting small bird over spits at very neat looking camp kitchens. His own special cooks were much favoured and given English manors to reward them for the tasty dishes he had enjoyed. No one need think that because methods of cooking at that time were somewhat crude beside our own, cooks were the less skilled. On the contrary they were probably more so. Human ingenuity is generally more inspired by difficult circumstances than by ease. The country produced an abundance of edible wild life, and the cooks used every possible herb and spice for sauces and flavouring.

Name Variations:  Cooke, Cook, Coke, Cookson, Cookes.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
English Surnames; C.M. Matthews - 1966.
A Dictionary of English Surnames; P.H. Reaney - 1958.


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