Recorded in several spellings including Ellerker and Elliker, this unusual surname, has no less than ten coats of arms, and some notable entries in the Dictionary of National Biography. It is English and locational from the parish and village of Ellerker, west of Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Recorded as "Alrecher" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Elreker" in the Feet of Fines for Yorkshire in 1202, the place was so called from the Old Scandinavian "elri", meaning alder grove, with the Norwegian "kjerr", meaning wet ground, and hence the wet land where brushwood grows. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early bearers of the name include: John de Ellerker, in the register of the Freemen of the City of York in 1332, and Sir Ralph Ellerker, a notable warrior who, in 1513, was knighted on Flodden Field. Whilst marshal of the English army in France, he took the crest from the Dauphin of France at the capture of Boulogne in 1544. The coat of arms most associated with the surname is a silver shield with a fess between three red water bougets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Denis de Elreker.This was dated 1204, in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King John, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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