George Edward Cokayne

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George Cokayne
George Edward Cokayne-Clarenceux.jpg
George Cokayne at work in 1900.
Born George Edward Adams
(1825-04-29)29 April 1825
Died 6 August 1911(1911-08-06) (aged 86)
Nationality English
Alma mater Exeter College
Occupation genealogist and herald
Known for The Complete Peerage

George Edward Cokayne, FSA (29 April 1825 – 6 August 1911), was an English genealogist and long-serving herald at the College of Arms in London, who eventually rose to the rank of Clarenceux King of Arms. He wrote the authoritative and standard reference works The Complete Peerage and The Complete Baronetage.


Cokayne was born on 29 April 1825, with the surname Adams, being the son of William Adams by his wife the Hon. Mary Anne Cokayne, a daughter of Viscount Cullen. He was baptised "George Edward Adams". On 15 August 1873 he changed his surname by Royal Licence to Cokayne. (Such changes were frequently made to meet the terms of bequests from childless relatives, often in the maternal line, who wished to see their name and arms continue.[1])



He matriculated from Exeter College on 6 June 1844, and graduated BA in 1848 and MA in 1852. He was admitted a student of Lincoln's Inn on 16 January 1850, and was called to the bar on 30 April 1853.[2]

College of Arms

He began his heraldic career at the College of Arms in London with an appointment in 1859 to the post of Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary, and was promoted in 1870 to the office of Lancaster Herald of Arms in Ordinary. In 1882 he was promoted to Norroy King of Arms, which office he held until his appointment as Clarenceux King of Arms in 1894, which he held until his death in 1911.[2]

The Complete Peerage

Cokayne wrote The Complete Peerage, the first edition of which was published between 1887 and 1898 [2]

Marriage & progeny

On 2 December 1856 he married Mary Dorothea Gibbs, daughter of George Henry Gibbs by his wife Caroline Crawley. He had one son, Brien, who was Governor of the Bank of England from 1918 to 1920 and was ennobled in 1920 as Baron Cullen of Ashbourne.


He died on 6 August 1911 aged 86.


  1. See for example Mark Rolle
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2  Woods, Gabriel Stanley (1901). [ "Cokayne, George Edward" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography (1st supplement). London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links