Last name: Clark

This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from a medieval occupational name for a scribe or secretary, or for a member of a minor religious order. The word "clerc", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cler(e)c", priest, originally denoted a member of a religious order only, but since the clergy of minor orders were allowed to marry and so found families, the surname could become established. It should also be noted that during the Middle Ages virtually the only people who were able to read and write were members of religious orders and it was therefore natural that the term "clark" or "clerk" would come to be used of any literate man, particularly the professional secretary and the scholar. One Richerius Clericus, Hampshire, appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname was first recorded in the early 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Reginald Clerc, noted in the Curia Regis Rolls of Rutland (1205), and John le Clerk, registered in the "Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses", Lincolnshire (1272). In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Clark, Clarke, Clerk and Clerke. Richard Clarke was noted as a passenger on the "Mayflower" bound for the New World in 1620. Lawrence Clark, together with his wife, Margaret, and son, Thomas, were famine emigrants who sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Shenandoah", bound for New York in March 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Willelm le Clerec, which was dated 1100, in "The Old English Byname Register of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2014

Surname Scroll

Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift. View Details.
PayPal Acceptance Mark
Surname Scroll
Share |

Good info. Thanks. But the 1200s are the THIRTEENTH century, not the 12th...

Brooke Clark
hey guys im searching up my surname and its origins for an assignment so it would be awesome if you know more than whats on this website i would love if you commented!!!!!

Michelle Hart
Hi Everyone! Just trying to get some info on my moms father, John Clark. I know he lived in North Bend,.Ohio before he passed away a few years back. My aunts mentioned Cleves too. Somehow he met my grandmother, Marlene Collins. My mom was born in Naples, Florida in 1960. I know John Clark remarried a lady named Sadie Clark. Im just looking for information on his side to fill in blanks.

Mr Clark
Clerc/Le Clerc and other Clark/Clarke deritives are rooted in the latin 'clericus' before the anglo saxon variants. As you would expect from the Germanic languages chronologically following on from widespread latin.

Hetty Molly Gee
clerc / le clerc is French

keith fidock
heard clark is translated as mac a ' chlerich in gaelic so it is'nt just a german saxon name.

John C
'Mac a' Chlerich' is translated as 'Son of a Cleric'. It bears no relation to the English name 'Clark'.

Leyton Clark
I once heard it was meaning those who worked as a Leather clerc