Recorded in a wide range of spellings including Gilk, Gilks, Gilkes, Gilkson, Gulk, Gulke, Jelkes, Jilks, Jilkes and others, this is a surname of Scottish origins. It is a patronymic form of the old Gaelic personal name Gilchrist, a compound of the elements "Gilla" meaning friend or servant with the suffix "Christ"; and hence the literal translation of the "follower of Christ". Gilchrist was the name was borne by the sculptor of St. Martin's cross on the isle of Iona, and an inscription in Irish reads "a prayer for Gilchrist who made this cross". The name "Gillecrist" (without surname) appears in the Pipe Rolls of Cumberland in the year 1202, whilst the surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century (see below). Early examples of the surname recordings taken at randon from the church registers of Greater London include; Margaret Gulk, who was chritened at the church of St Mary Somerset, on May 18th 1563, Thomas Gilks, who married Anne Hopkins on February 19th 1651, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney; Thomas, Jilks, who was christened on March 4th 1652 at St. Ann, Blackfriars. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Gilcristson. This was dated 1332, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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