- This unusual surname has two possible origin, the first being that it is of Cornish origin and a nickname surname for a red haired person or one with a particularly ruddy complexion, derived from the Cornish "cough", the Welsh "coch" meaning red. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. The name is numerous in Cornwall, with an early recording of one Dority Cowch who was christened on January 6th 1568 at Botus Fleming, and a slightly later record of the marriage of Elizabeth Couch and Thomas Gatty on October 5th 1573 at St. Sampson or Golant. However Couch may also derive from the Middle English "couche", bed and would then be a metonymic occupational name for a maker of beds, bedding and couches, specifically an upholsterer, or even a nickname for a indolent person. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon Couch, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.