Monday, 5 February 2018

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 6: 'Favourite Name'

Week 6 Prompt:   'Favourite Name'

I had a little laugh when I discovered the names of two of my ancestors who married on 12 February 1733.  They are my 5 X Great Grandparents on my mother’s side.

Richard COWMEADOW and Hannah BULLOCK.

I wonder was it an outside wedding on the lawn ? 

Just kidding – actually they were married in St Nicholas Church of England in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England.

The church is a well known architectural structure as the tower is not straight.    Some call it ‘The Leaning Tower of Gloucester’.

St Nicholas Church, Gloucester, England. Photo Permission: Sue C Smith.

I have put some documents in – for interest – but also because I love that old writing, particularly when you can read it !

Hannah’s Baptism on May 08, 1705 (

Richard’s Baptism – Jan. 22, 1705 (

Richard’s marriage entry on February 12, 1733. (

Hannah's marriage entry with transcription - a more legible reading.

 Now, a little interesting history about English names. 

The feudal nobility and gentry were named in preparation for the Domesday Book in 1086, following the Norman conquest.
However early European names for families developed over time from the use of nicknames. They were reference to different occupations, personal characteristics, physical appearance, resemblances to animals and birds, ways of dress, etc.   
Eventually when the Poll Tax was introduced in England in 1275 people required a surname.

‘Bullock’ and variations of the surname  
Bullok/Bulloc/Bulluc/Bullocke are of Anglo-Saxon origin. Early mentions of the family name are: Walter Bulluc, 1170, in the ‘Records of Hampshire’ during the reign of King Henry II; Robert Bulloc in the 1195 ‘Feet of Fines’; and Richard le Bollocherde (as in bullock herd) in the Eynsham Cartulary, Oxford, 1281.
 Source: Name Origin Research 1980 -2017,

‘Bullock’ Name Meaning
English: from Middle English bullok, bullock and Old English bulluc, referring to a young bull rather than a castrated one, probably applied as a nickname for an exuberant young man, or an occupational name for a keeper of bullocks.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press,

‘An exuberant young man’ - This could have been a worry.

Memorial Stone, Toby Bullocke, 1641, St Nicholas Church, Gloucester, England. Photo Permission: Sue C Smith.

‘Cowmeadow’ - variations of the surname and meaning
It is a harder name to track down.  It appears to be English and could be from an area called ‘CowsMeadow’ that is now one of the ‘Lost Mediaeval Villages’.  When these places disappeared they only left behind a surname with a local family.

Some thoughts though are that the prefix ‘Cow’ could have come from the Norse ‘Kaus’ meaning Tom-cat, and so ‘Kausmeadow’.

The earliest finding stated on this website is John Cowmedow at St Olaves, Southwark, London, 21 Feb. 1733. Different spellings include Cowmeadow, Cowmedow, Cowmadow and Cowmedon.

Source: Name Origin Research 1980 – 2017,

NB:      On some of the documents for my ancestors the name is spelt Cowmedow.
            Hannah was born in 1705 and her parents are listed including her father John Cowmedow – earlier dates than listed on the website.

Sometimes names come together that make one smile as these two did for me.

Question is: Did the family way back, live in CowsMeadow? 
keep cows in the meadow?
or was it a Tomcat camping there?  


  1. Now that's an unusual name combination! Enjoyed the blog

  2. Thanks Julie - It is an odd one and a funny one isnt it? - tickled my fancy when I first discovered their names.