This rare and unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and is a topographical surname acquired in the first instances by someone who lived in a recessed, retired place, a "nook". The derivation is from the Middle English term "halke", itself a derivative of the Olde English pre 7th Century "halh, healh", corner, angle, retired or secret place. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname is found mainly in the southern counties of England, and has a variety of different forms, illustrated by the following examples (the plural forms represent the genitive case, "of the halke"): Thomas Halkes (1591, Devonshire); Johne Hawlker (1598, Gloucestershire); Hugh Hawker (1605, Somerset); and Ann Halks (1732, Devonshire). Recordings of the name from London Church Registers include the christening of Rebeccah, daughter of John and Sarah Helks, at St. Adke's, Hoxton, on May 24th 1736, and the christening of Mary Ann, daughter of Solomon and Elizabeth Helks, at St. Martin in the Fields, on January 22nd 1781. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margerye Haulke, which was dated January 19th 1579, marriage to Robert Jefferye, at St. Breock, Cornwall, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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