A Family Name for a Family Business
Charles Cooper King, born in England in 1843 and Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Marine Artillery, was Chris’s great-great-grandfather.
In 1885 he documented the Cooper King family history in beautiful and painstakingly handwritten volumes, tracing the family to almost every English county. His earliest known ancestors, dating back to 1030, were the Pigot (or Pygott) family of Yorkshire.
Thomas Pigot was confirmed as abbot of St Mary’s Abbey, York in 1398 and the Pigot family shield can still be seen today throughout Ripon Cathedral.
Travelling up from London in the late 1800s, Charles visited Yorkshire to research the Pigot name, which led him to the cathedral where he sketched the locations of the family crest. Retracing his steps around 130 years later, I visited the cathedral with my family last year. Using Charles’ drawings as a guide we embarked on a treasure hunt to track down all 4 shields.
It felt right that our family business should have a family name. Given the rich historical ties to England and Yorkshire and the reference to a barrel-maker, Cooper King fitted perfectly.
It was not without its problems, however. We had to seek permission from the Cabinet Office to use the word ‘King’ in our company name! Fortunately, the family history volumes were excellent proof that we had a genuine claim to the name and we were granted permission to use it.
The Cooper King shield now represents us and the distillery, albeit it with a modern twist. The contemporary design is based upon the Cooper King coat of arms that Charles hand-painted at the start of the first volume.
The top half depicts our Yorkshire roots with the three Pigot war hammers; the cross represents the Kings; the lion represents the Garrets and the Kings.
We haven’t been able to include an element from the Cooper shield as this remains a mystery yet to be solved. Read our blog to find out more.