This very unusual surname is locational and English. Well recorded in the London area from the early 17th century, it probably orginates from the village of Porlock in West Somerset. This village is first recorded in the year 918, over a century before the Norman Invasion of 1066, in the spelling of Portloca, and later in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, as Portloc. On this basis this seems the most likely "home" for the name. There is a small village near Athlone in Ireland called Portlick, but this has not provided any proven nameholders in any spelling. Locational surnames were usually given to people after they left their original villages and moved elsewhere. Sometimes these villages were destroyed, the only remaining record today being the surviving surname, often in a corrupted spelling.In this case it seems to be the other way around. Porlock means a harbour (from the Latin portus) by an estuary (laec), and we have no reason to assume that this is not the translation for the surname. Given the prominence of London recordings it is possible the name could relate to an ancient place on the Thames, now swallowed up in the mass of London, as there are no recordings of the name in Somerset. Early examples of the name recordings taken from authentic church registers of the period include Margareta Portlock, christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on May 11th 1670, and John Portlock, who married Thomazine Brookson, at St. Kathrines by the Tower (of London), on February 12th 1737.
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