This interesting surname of English origin is derived from the Celtic word "corcair (Middle English "cork"), a purple dye or red dye stuff plus "ing" meaning "people of" or "dependants of", and was originally given as a metonymic occupational name to a supplier of this dye or to a dyer of cloth with Cork. The ultimate origin of the name lies in the Latin "Purpura", the name of the shellfish from which the dye was obtained. The famous Tyrian purple was made from a mixture of these shells and was very costly to produce.Because the woollen robes worn by Roman Emperors was dyed with this colour, purple became symbolic of nobility and power. The occupation of dyer was therefore held in high esteem. The surname was first recorded in England in the late 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Sarah Corking who married William Gardner at St. Mary Whitechapel, London, on August, 12th 1622, and Mary, daughter of Edward and Elisabeth Corking was christened on October 8th 1682, at St. Bride, Fleet St., London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Cork, which was dated 1278, The Calendar of Letter Books for London, during the reign of King Edward I, 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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