This interesting name, with variant spellings Park(e), Purke, Pirke and Pearc, derives from the Medieval English "Parke", itself coming from the Olde French "Parc" meaning "a large enclosed space", (especially an area where the landowner could hunt game). The name was therefore either topographic for someone who lived near a park or a metonymic occupational name for one employed in a park. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below). On August 26th 1576 Elizabeth Purke, an infant was christened in St. Mary Magdalene's, Olde Fish Street, London and on January 9th 1738 Ann Pirke was christened in Blackfriars Presbytery, London. On February 3rd 1763, Elizabeth, daughter of Lazarus and Mary Pyrke, was christened in St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry del Parck, witness, which was dated 1272, The Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Edward I, 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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