Recorded as Dark, Darke, Darkes, Darker, Durk, and Durker, this is an English surname. Most frequently found in the West Country area of England, it is either a good example of the medieval habit of creating a surname from a nickname, or it may be occupational for a person who 'darkened' leather. The lists of skilled occupations in the 16th century referred to a coriar, who seems to have been a harness maker or similar, and who arranged for 'tanned leather to be blacke'. As a nickname itmay have referred to someone with very dark hair or complexion, but more lilely it was an ethnic name for a Celtic, who were dark skinned, compared with the Anglo-Saxon colonists of the 5th century a.d. The derivation is from the Olde English word "deorc", in Middle English "darke". Another possibility is that the surname is locational from Durker, a place near Wakefield in West Yorkshire, or Dark Lane, a hamlet near Huddersfield also in West Yorkshire, or even Dark Water, a location, but originally a village, in the county of Hampshire. The surname development has included Richard Durk of Somerset in 1229, and John Darke of Gloucestershire in 1362, whilst John le Darkere, appears in the Assize Court rolls of Warwickshire in the year 1349, and John Darker in the Hearth Tax rolls of Suffolk in 1524. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known known as the 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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