This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be a locational name from any of the various places so called, for example, Chalk in Kent or Chalke in Wiltshire, the former was recorded as "Cealce" in the Saxon Cartulary in the 10th Century, while the latter appears as "Chelche" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The placenames are composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century "cealc(e)", chalk. The surname may however be of topographical origin for a dweller on chalky soil or a chalk down, from the same Olde English element as above. The surname is first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below), while other early examples of the surname include Ralph de Chalke, in the Archaeological Records of Kent in 1268, and William atte Chalke, in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. Jo Chalk was an early settler in "Virginea", having embarked from London aboard the "Merchant Hope", under Hugh Weston, in July 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Chelka, which was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of Wiltshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.
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