This uncommon surname is either a patronymic form of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal byname "Clacc" or the cognate Old Danish "Klak", an imitative formation given originally to a chatterer or else it is a dialectal variant of the more familiar Clarkson. One Clac de Fugelburne was noted in Saxon Records of Cambridgeshire, dated circa 975, and this personal name also forms the first element of Clacton (Essex), recorded as "Claccington" circa 1000 in Cambridgeshire manuscripts. Early examples of the surname include: Godwinus Clec (Domesday Book, Wiltshire, 1086), and Simon Clac (Subsidy Rolls, Somerset, 1327). Clarkson first appears on record in the early 14th Century (below), and implies "son of the Clerk", itself an occupational name for a scribe, professional secretary, or member of a minor religious order, deriving from the Olde English "cler(e)c". In 1491, one Ralph Clarkson was noted in the Corpus Christi Guild Register, York, and in 1510, Richard Clerkson or Clacson was entered in the Oxford University Register. The marriage of Thomas Clackson to Alice Kinge took place at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London, on September 11th 1615, and on February 16th 1623, John Clackson, an early settler in the New World appears on a "List of the Living at Elizabeth Cittie", Virginia. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan le Clerkissone, which was dated 1306, in the "Feet of Fines of Suffolk", 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.
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