This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a nickname for someone with some deformity or scar in the region of the cheek or jawbone, possibly an honourable scar acquired in battle. It derives from the Middle English "cheeke", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "ce(a)ce". 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, as in this instance, the name Cheek. The surname is fairly well established in Essex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, and the West Country, but rare elsewhere, and dates back to the late 11th Century (see below). A family called Cheke can trace their descent in an unbroken line to one Richard Cheke, who in the reign of King Richard 11 (1377 - 1399) held the manor of Motteston on the Isle of Wight. Church Records list the marriage of Richard Cheeke to Barbara Day on September 10th 1575 at St. Margaret Pattens, London, and the christening of Charles, son of Thomas Cheek, on February 21st 1629 in Romford, Essex. A Coat of Arms granted to a Cheek family is silver, three cinquefoils, per pale green and red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aeluric Chec, which was dated circa 1095, in the "Feudal Documents of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, during the reign of King William 1, known as "Rufus", 1087 - 1100. 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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