Recorded in several spellings including Balcock, Baldack, Baldcock, Baldock, Bellicock, Bilcock, Bulcock, Bullcock and others, this is an English surname with one of the most unusual Middle Eastern origins. It is locational, and from the town of Baldock in the county of Hertfordshire. However this traditional English place, first recorded in 1168, is not what it seems, being named after the Iraqi city of Baghdad, known in French as "Baldac". According to Arabic etymology this means the "city of Dat", with Dat being the personal name of an early Mohammedan monk. Baldock was founded by the Knight Templars of St John, otherwise known as The Crusaders, whose reason for existence was their many attempts in medieval times, to free Jerusalem from the Muslims. The spread of this surname, and hence the development of variant spellings, occured after the Middle Ages, when people began to move more freely between jobs. In so doing they often took, or were given, as easy identification, the name of their former home. As few people could so much as write their name, and local dialects were very thick, distortions of the original spelling followed. Examples of the surname recording showing the development include: Thomas Baldac in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in the year 1280, Ralph de Baldock, archdeacon of St. Andrew's Holborn in the city of London in 1276, and later bishop of London (1306 - 1313), George Balcock, a christening witness at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on October 30th 1591, Thomas Bulcock, who married Anne Buckmaster at St James church, Dukes Place, Westminster, on March 26th 1695, and Louisa Baldcock, who married Henry Putland, at St Giles Cripplegate, the city of London, on February 18th 1868.
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