Recorded in the spellings of Charnock, Sharnock, and Shernock, this interesting surname is of pre 7th century Olde English origin. It is a locational name from either Heath Charnock or Charnock Richard in the county of Lancashire. The placenames were recorded as "Chernoc" in the Cockersand Chartulary of 1190, and as "Chernoch" in the 1194 Pipe Rolls, and are so called from a derivative of the Welsh "carn", rock, stone; hence "rocky district". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job- seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below), and recordings of the surname from church registers include: the marriage of James Charnock and Parnell Parker on July 10th 1542, at Kirkham, Lancashire; the marriage of Henry Charnock and Margarett Griffyn on October 24th 1569, at St. Giles', Cripplegate, London, and that of Elizabeth Sharnock who married John Knape at the church of St Katherines by the Tower (of London) on May 22nd 1590. A notable namebearer, Job Charnock who died in1693, is renowned as the founder of Calcutta. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Chernok, which was dated 1246, a witness at the Assize Court of Lancashire", during the reign of King henry 111 of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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