Most commentators assume that Hockey is a locality surname centred in the south, although no-one yet appears to have identified a related placename. Another theory is that the name originates from the personal name 'Hawkeye', and yet another is that the origins lay in a French name 'Hocke' which was brought to England by Protestants fleeing persecution. Any further thoughts on the origin of the name would be welcome.

1881 census

The Hockey name is reasonably uncommon, with only about 1400 listed around the country at the time of the 1881 census. Of these, there is a clear concentration in the south-west, with about 30% in Somerset (the highest regional concentration), high but somewhat less dense concentrations in Dorset and Hampshire, and other notable occurrences in Wiltshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Devon and Cornwall. All this would seem consistent with an origin somewhere in Somerset with a gradual migration elsewhere, although other sources will need to be reviewed to clarify the picture. Within Somerset and Dorset, the majority (around 75%) of occurrences lie in a band stretching from the area around Chard in the south-west via the Montacute area (33%), through Charlton Adam and Cadbury to the Horsington and Henstridge area in the south-east. Smaller groupings occur in the Mendips and north-east Somerset and along the central Dorset coast.

Early records

The Hockey name occurs in the 1664-5 hearth tax returns for Weston Bampfylde and Cucklington in south-eastern Somerset, towards the eastern end of the band of later concentration described above. No Hockeys occur in the surviving 1641-2 Protestation Oath returns for Dorset. A Thomas de Haweye appears in the Dorset Feet of Fines for 40 Hen III (1255), apparently relating to a court held at Ilchester (in Somerset).

International Genealogical Index (IGI) and parish records

The early IGI coverage of the band of largely south-Somerset parishes described above is extremely patchy, but contains a number of early references to Hockeys in Norton-sub-Hamden (1586), Taunton (1605), Weston Bampfylde (1639) and Trent (1675), with Hockeys also recorded in the Montacute area from around 1700. It is hoped to carry out a more extensive review of the early occurrences of the Hockey name throughout the band of later concentration, and any researchers interested in participating in this process are invited to contact Ian Hall.


This page was last updated 16 May 2007