In the 18th and 19th centuries this farm was situated on the west side of Hill Lane, just south of Bellemoor Road and opposite the south boundary of the Common. It was sometimes misnamed Cockroach Farm, as on Randall’s map of 1778, or Cockerwood House, as on Doswell’s map of 1802. The farmhouse itself still stands next to the caretaker’s lodge of Taunton’s College.
Cockroads Lane, also often misspelled as Cockroach Lane, was the name of the lane leading to the farm, now no longer existing. In the 18th century it was applied to the stretch of Hill Lane from Cemetery Dip to Bellemoor Road.
A reader has been in touch with some thoughts about the origin of the name. He notes that "cockroads" can mean "'Home of the Woodcock' or refer to a now obsolete Woodcock hunting practice of placing nets in a glade to capture the birds at certain times (perhaps dusk) when they fly through in search of water." This could involve creating a road if no glade existed. Wikipedia - Cockshoot. He notes that "the fact that part of Hill Lane was also named Cockroad Lane nearby is interesting as Hill Lane is mentioned in the Doomsday book as a 'hollow Lane'. There were 'fowling ponds' on the common near the Hawthorns and also in a book on Southampton Watercourses the historian Lawrence Burgess briefly mentions a stream somewhere at the back of what is now Taunton's college. The area may once have been rich in wildlife including woodcocks."
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