This is a medieval nickname surname for a gentle or self-effacing person deriving from the Medieval English "meek" or the Old Norse "mjukr" meaning "humble" or "meek". The surname from this source is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below). In the modern idiom the surname can be found spelt as Meek, Meeke, Meekes, Meak, Meake and Meakes. Robert le Meke appears in the "Register of the Freemen of the City of York" circa 1300, and an "Alicia Meke", a labourer is registered in "the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire" (1379). The surname is recorded in Scotland from the mid 15th Century. The earliest recorded namebearer there, being William Mek of Cowbyr (1457). Robert Meik was burgess of Perth in 1545 and in 1692, the marriage of John Martin and Jane Meeke was recorded in St. Antholin's, London. A notable bearer of this surname was Sir James Meek (1778 - 1856) a public servant who collected supplies for an Egyptian expedition in 1800 and also collected information for Peel's free-trade measures (1841), he was knighted in 1851. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Mek, which was dated 1229, in the Patent Records of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as the Frenchman, 1216 - 1272. 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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