Peacock

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Peacock Surname Genealogy

Both
the
Peacock and Pocock names derived from the peacock bird.
These surnames probably developed initially
as nicknames, possibly for someone who wore bright clothes or was seen
as a
vain strutting person. It has also been
suggested that the name was occupational, describing a breeder of
peacocks, or locational,
describing someone who lived by the sign of a peacock.
The Peacock spelling
(which predominates) has tended to be found more in the north of
England, the
Pocock spelling more in the south – although there are no hard and fast
rules
on this.

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Peacock Resources on
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Peacock Ancestry

England.
The
history here divides into Peacock
and
Pocock
.

Peacock. Peacock has
tended to be a northern name, although there have been exceptions. Reginald Pecock, the 15th century theologian,
was probably born in Wales. He was
appointed Bishop of St. Asaph in 1444, but was then found guilty of
heresy in
1457 and banished. Stephen Peacock
of
the Haberdashers’ Guild was Lord Mayor of London in 1533.
He it was in
his gown of crimson velvet who led Anne Boleyn on her way to being
crowned Queen that
year.

Generally, the Peacock name has been strongest in Yorkshire, extending
north
into Durham. One early mention of the
name was in 1536 when Anthony Peacock, the bailiff at
Arkengarthdale
inear Swaledale, took part in the Pilgrimage of Grace.
The story did not end happily as Peacock was
hanged in chains on Richmond Moor and then executed for his role in the
uprising.

Peacock
has been concentrated in Swaledale in this part of north Yorkshire that
used to
be called Richmondshire. There were 48
Peacocks living at Arkengarthdale in the 1881 census.
Peacocks were also at Marrick and Reeth near Grinton. Thomas
Peacock
of Marrick was recorded at 102
years old on his death in 1762.

Lead
mining
took place in this area in the 18th century and the
Peacock name was
to be found in mining villages such as Thwaite and Muker.
Ralph Peacock was a lead mining superintendent
in Swaledale in the early 1800’s. His
son Richard made his mark as a railway engineer and co-founded in 1853
the
locomotive company of Beyer-Peacock.

It
was clear that Peacock was a very familiar name in Swaledale as it
cropped up in the local Beeth Bartle Fair
ballad composed in the 1870’s.

Pocock. The early spelling here appears to have been
Pocok in Somerset and Pecok in Essex.

The Pocock name in Berkshire dates back to
John Pocock who was buried at Hampsted Norris in the county in 1493. Edmund and Laurence Pocock, vicars at
Chieveley and Brightwalton in the late 1500’s, were probably brothers:

  • Edmund’s
    son, Dr. Edmund Pocock, was the
    great Oriental scholar at Oxford, the
    first scholar of Arabic of any stature in England.
  • Laurence’s
    line included the
    clergyman Thomas Pocock, also known as a diarist, and Sir George Pocock
    who had
    a distinguished naval career, defeating the French three times in
    Indian waters
    during the 1750’s.
“For
these services he received the gratitude of the East India
Company and a statue was erected of him outside India House.”

His son George was created a baronet.


The
Pococks
in Bristol were thought to have been related to the Chieveley Pococks
in
Berkshire. The first in their number was
Nicholas Pocock, a respected mariner and merchant of Bristol who was
made a
freemen of the city in 1742. One of his
sons
Isaac fought at sea and distinguished himself at the time of the
American
Revolutionary War; while another son Nicholas became well-known as a
marine
artist. The line from Nicholas extended
to Isaac, also a painter, and then to Nicholas, a cleric and historical
writer.

Scotland. Peacock is also a Scottish
surname. The Peacock name was first found
in Dumfries
and later in Edinburgh and Perthshire. However,
the main concentration of the name has been in the Glasgow area:

  • there
    is a
    preserved document of the last speech and confession of Alexander
    Peacock,
    shoemaker from Glasgow, who was executed in 1743 for the cruel and
    bloody
    murder of Margaret Marshall his wife.
  • while
    John Peacock was a rope manufacturer
    in Paisley in the late 1700’s. William
    Peacock took over another rope business there in the 1840’s and this
    business
    continued under his name until 1990.

Ireland. Peacocks in Ireland
are likely to be of either
Scottish or English ancestry, the former being mainly found in Antrim.

America. The Peacocks in America may have English,
Scottish or Irish origins. Perhaps the
first to arrive was
William Peacock from England who came on the Hopewell in 1635 and settled in
Roxbury, Massachusetts. He had one son.
John
Peacock, also from England, came to the New
Haven
colony in Connecticut in 1638. But he had
no male heir.

Later arrivals were:

  • John
    Peacock
    from Scotland who came in 1714 and made his home in
    Burlington
    county, New Jersey. There are a large
    number of Peacocks in New Jersey descended from John Peacock.
  • and
    Thomas Peacock from Ireland who came to
    Long Island in the 1760’s. He fought in
    General Washington’s army during the Revolutionary War and afterwards
    settled
    in Newburgh, New York. He died in 1828
    at the advanced age of 98.

Peacocks
in the South
. The earliest arrival
may have been Thomas Peacock from Scotland who came to Maryland
sometime in the
1730’s and whose descendants settled in Loudoun county, Virginia. Peacocks from Virginia and North Carolina
spread across the South. Many of these
Peacocks
are covered in the Peacock Family Association of the South – which
began life
after the publication of John J. Pierce’s 1979 book The
Children of Levi Peacock
.

The Rev. Levi Peacock, born in Wayne
county, North Carolina in 1756, served in the North Carolina militia
during the
Revolutionary War and settled down around 1800 in Georgia.
Simon and Zilpha Peacock lived in Wayne
county also at this time. Their son
Robert came to Georgia a little later and there are a large number of
his
descendants today in Thomas county.


South Ahrica. Richard and Maria Peacock from Kent were part of the
Wilson party among the 1820 settlers to South Africa. They made
their home at Somerset East in the Eastern Cape. Some of the
later Peacocks moved to Queenstown where Alfred Peacock served as
mayor.

Australia and
New Zealand.
John Jenkins Peacock had been
born in Sydney of
convict parents in 1798. An enterprising
young man, he acquired a master’s ticket and involved himself in
coastal
trading where he worked hard and became very successful.
However, in 1843 he over-extended himself and was forced to sell
off almost all of his assets.

He and his son John moved to New Zealand the next year. They made
their base in Lyttelton, South Island. Son John proved himself a
successful merchant who managed to hold onto his money and retire early.

Another Peacock family made good down under was begun by William
Peacock from London, an early settler in South Australia in 1838.
He started a tannery and wool-brokering business which was carried on
by his sons Joseph and Caleb. Caleb was mayor of Adelaide from
1875 to 1877.

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Peacock Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:


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Peacock Names

Reginald
Pecock
was a leading English theologian of the 15th century who
in later life was banished for heresy.
Dr. Edmund Pocock
pioneered Arabic studies in England in the 17th
century.
Thomas Love Peacock
was an English novelist and poet of the early
19th century, a close friend of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.



Select Peacock Today

  • 25,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Yorkshire)
  • 7,000 in America (most numerous in Florida)
  • 9,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

 

 

 

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