This very interesting medieval surname can be either a metonymic occupational name for someone employed in or at a "park", a "park-keeper", or it can be topographical, and denote someone who lived in or near a park. The derivation is from the Old French and Middle English "parc" or "parke", which meant an enclosed space, a park or enclosure and in medieval times was specifically used to describe the large enclosed area where the landowner could hunt game. The name can be found spelt as "Park, Parke, Parks, Parkes or Perks" in the modern idiom, "Parks" etc., being the patronymic forms, meaning "son of". The name development includes "Iselota atte Park" (1285, Kent) and "Henry del Parks" (1304, Worcestershire). Amongst the many recordings of the name is that of Thomas Parkes, who on February 24th 1624 is recorded as 'living in Virginea' making him one of the very earliest settlers to the New England colonies. The famous Scottish explorer, Mungo Park, (1771 - 1806), led two expeditions to trace the source of the Niger in Africa, and published an account of his adventures, "Travels", in 1799. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry del Parck (witness), which was dated 1272, in the "Assize Court", Staffordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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