The COX Family - in Angus and Perthshire

The origins of the Cox family are somewhat obscure but it's generally accepted that they first came to Scotland from the Low Countries in the early 16th century. Their name evolved over time from Coques to Cok, then to Cock and finally to Cox in 1840.

From the outset the family were engaged in the weaving and bleaching of linen. This in itself suggests they came from Holland as the Dutch had perfected the bleaching process and nearly all linen manufactured in Scotland at that time was shipped to Holland for bleaching. No doubt the port of Dundee had their share of the trade so perhaps contacts were established with our ancestors in Holland which encouraged them to emigrate to Scotland, taking their expertise with them.

In Holland the industry was centred in the area around Haarlem in the west, where conditions were ideal and large expanses of land were devoted to bleachfields, as depicted in a number of paintings by Jacob van Ruisdael.


Detail from 'A View of Haarlem with Bleaching Grounds'
by Jacob van Ruisdael (1628-1682)
Widely regarded as Holland's greatest landscape painter.


'The Night Watch' by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
Also known as 'The Company of Frans Banning Cocq
and Willem van Ruytenburch'.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

Origins of the Family

I was told by both my Father and Grandfather that the Cocks came from the Continent. In searching the records in Edinburgh I find that the great emigration must have been during the reign of James IV,King of Scots 1488-1513 when so many artisans came from Scandinavia to this country. Passing southwards to Amsterdam, they separated there. Some settled in Holland, others migrated to the east, south and west, while many settled in the British Islands.

SOURCE: The James Cox Journal

The Night Watch

When travelling over the Continent of Europe in 1868 with the authorJames Taylor was author of the Pictorial History, published in 1859 by James & Virtue, London of the Pictorial History of Scotland, at Amsterdam we visited amongst other places the Town Hall where there are many fine pictures. As we were passing along, my friend lingered behind me admiring that beautiful picture the 'Night Watch' by Rembrandt. In the foreground of this picture stands the valiant Burgomaster of Amsterdam, Jean Banning Cock, whereupon my friend looking round upon me said 'Here Mr Cox is your ancestor'.