(Note: This information was copied from a Website on May 15, 2001, and has not been substantiated yet. The author of that website has traced his ancestry back to Peter Willcockse, who was born 1691 in England. This appears to be an unrelated ancestry. The compiler has saved this information because it mentioned some names that do appear to be related. The website is http://members.tripod.com/~MARK_DAMON_SMITH/SURNAME.HTM )
The Wilcox family is of Saxon derivation and was seated in Bury St. Edmunds, County of Suffolk, England before the Norman Conquest. Sir John Dugdale mentioned fifteen generations of Wilcoxes previous to 1600 in the visitation of the county of Suffolk. Earliest traces of the name are found in Cornwall and Wales. The family was prominent in Northington and Southington, England as peers before migrating to America. Had a coat of arms and were Dukes and Earls. One branch of the family were Dukes of Suffolk.
An account of the coat of arms is found in a number of heraldic works but from a member of the family in Connecticut was secured a reproduction of the original arms, brought from England, the features of which were the mantling motto, crest, lion rempant, and demi lion sable issuing out of a mural crown and collared with a ducal crown. The ducal crown indicates the relation of the person to the crown who bore the arms, that of a duke, and the highest next to a price or sovereign, and usually a son or brother or near relation of the sovereign. The significance of the lion rampant is that the person bearing the arms had, as a general of the army of England, won great victories and honor to the crown.
The motto "Fidux et Audax" means faithful and true, or faithful and bold. The supporters here shown are the same as used by the Earls of Norfolk, a branch of the family and recognizable in the fact that the family were seated at Northington, Connecticut, a place of the same name as in England. Northington is a community in Norfolk, England, the history of which is rich in antiquity as connected with the progress of anglican civilization, and at one time nearly all of the eastern part of England was governed or controlled as one province by this one family. One branch of them were Dukes of Suffolk, directly south of Suffolk but political changes caused them to be submerged and only ancient history discloses these facts.
The name is mentioned prominently by a Puritan author Thomas Wilcocks. Later Joseph Wilcocks, Bishop of Rochestor who, while dean of Westminster "restored the west front of that historical edifice." In catalogue of Oxford University from 1423 to 1508 it is found eight times among those receiving degrees.
Surnames did not become hereditary until the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries, the custom being gradually adopted during that period. The name has been spelled at least nineteen different ways, some families still clinging to the suffix son, meaning son of, or to other of the old ways of spelling.
William was the commonest name in Great Britian. Ox or ock is the diminutive. The name might have meant son of little Will. A story has been handed down that a "cocky" young man was greeted as "Well, old cock, how are you?" until the name stuck, spelled Wellcock. With the dropping of a syllable or letter down through the centuries the name has worn down to it's present spelling by nearly all the tribes in America.
There is a tradition that with the Puritan wave of immigration from England to this country there were six different Wilcoxes, no relation that they knew of but we could find given names of but three. Edward, William Wilcoxon of Stratford, Conn., and our John Wilcocks of Hartford.
The Blue Book Of England states that our John Wilcocks the immigrant, was a descendent of Captain John Wilcox who commanded 1,000 lances at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 against William the Conqueror. In the reign of Edward The Third, Sir John Wilcox was entrusted with several important commands against the French.
John Wilcocks, the immigrant ancestor, came to America with his family, all except Ann, a daughter who married John Hall, Jr. in England and is supposed to have remained there. John Wilcocks was one of the original Proprietors of Hartford, Conn. and was probably one of the company of the Rev. Thomas Hooker who removed to Newtown ( now Cambridge) Mass. in 1639. He accumulated a large amount of land here and there, which was no doubt easy to buy from the Indians at that time.
His name and location of houselot is in the original plan of Hartford as of 1642 by surveys from original records of the distribution of 1639. He is buried in the Center Church Burying ground in Hartford, name on monument with the names of other first proprietors. He served as selectman in 1640. Was surveyor in 1643-44-45
Revised: August 23, 2009