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Surname Willcocks - Meaning and Origin

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Willcocks: What does the surname Willcocks mean?

The last name Willcocks is an English surname which originated from the surname Willcox. It is derived from the personal name of Wilcoc, a combination of the Old English words wil ‘will or desire’ and cocc ‘cock’. This ultimately means “desired cock”, a reference to a beloved pet or good luck symbol.

The surname first appeared in records during the 13th century in Gloucestershire, England. Over the centuries, it spread to nearby counties in the English Midlands, before eventually finding its way abroad to countries like the United States, Canada, South Africa and Australia.

The coat of arms for the family features three black cocks on a gold shield. They, along with the motto “Amour et Verite” (love and truth), are thought to represent the desired cock from which the name originated.

Today, many Willcocks people are found mainly throughout England and Wales, although there are scattered families with the name all over the world. The Willcocks surname is now a source of pride for their descendants, as it is a reminder of the family’s enduring spirit and determination.

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Willcocks: Where does the name Willcocks come from?

The surname Willcocks is most commonly found in the United Kingdom, particularly in England. The Willcocks name is part of the Anglo-Saxon tradition, deriving from two separate words, 'wil' which means desire and 'cocc' meaning a hill. It is likely that the original holders of this surname lived on or near a hill of some sort.

In the past few centuries, the Willcocks family has spread all over the world, but they still maintain a certain presence in the south and eastern parts of England, as well as in Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Among the most common locations are Cornwall, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Suffolk, and Hampshire. The vast majority of those who still bear the name today hail from England, though examples are also found in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States.

Within the UK, the Willcocks name is most notably associated with the county of Devon. A prominent branch of the Willcocks family, descended from William Willcocks, are situated here and have held seats in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The seat at Holme, near Exeter, has been home to a Willcocks for centuries. It is likely that today, there are many people in the UK with the surname Willcocks who can trace their heritage back to that area of Devon.

Variations of the surname Willcocks

The variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin for the surname Willcocks all stem from the Old English word ‘willa,’ meaning ‘determined, strong willed.’

The most common variants of Willcocks are Willcox, Wilcox, Wilcocks, and Wilcock. Other variants include Willcocke, Willcockes, Willicox, Willacox, Wyllcock, Wyllcocks, Wyllcox, Wylecox, Willicoxe, Wyllacox, and Wyllacoxe.

Willcocks is mainly found in the United Kingdom and can be a point of origin for families found across Europe.

In England, Willcocks is often used interchangeably with Woolcock, which is a distinct surname, but is a reference to Eluned, the daughter of King Cyngen who had a reputation for strength and resilience.

In Ireland, Willcocks can also be found as a variant of the surname Walsh which is of similar Gaelic origins.

In Germany and the Netherlands, Willcocks could be a variant of the surname Wilken/Wilkens, meaning ‘child of Wilke’ or ‘son of Wilke.’ While the pronunciation of Willcocks may vary, this origin is still the same.

In Scotland, Willcocks is likely derived from the surname Willock which is related to the Clan Mackay. The two surnames share the same origins in the Gaelic language, and the modern spelling Willcocks is likely derived from the more ancient spelling of the surname.

In France, the variants Willcocks and Wilcocks can both be linked to the regional surname Wilcox.

Overall, the surname Willcocks has many variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin that span the globe.

Famous people with the name Willcocks

  • Rob Willcocks: Former professional Rugby Union player who competed for the England team.
  • Julian Willcocks: Award-winning British screenwriter.
  • Becky Willcocks: Swimmer and Paralympic gold medalist.
  • Geoff Willcocks: England international field hockey player.
  • Sir George Willcocks: World War I military leader and VC recipient.
  • Sylvia Willcocks: British actor who appeared in the Coronation Street television series.
  • David Willcocks: English organist and choral conductor.
  • Joshua Willcocks: British journalist, writer and comic book creator.
  • Sir Charles Willcocks: President of Royal College of Surgeons in London from 1918-1920.
  • John Willcocks: Rugby Union coach and manager of the British and Irish Lions.
  • Matt Willcocks: British footballer who has played for clubs in Wales, England and Scotland.
  • Christine Willcocks: Manager in the British National Health Service.

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