This curious surname is of Old Scandinavian origin, and is a locational name from the parish and market-town of Thirsk, north west of the city of York in the North Riding of Yorkshire, containing the ancient country manor Thirsk Hall, Recorded as "Tresch" and "Tresc" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Thresca" in Early Yorkshire Charters, dated 1148, the place was so called from the Old Swedish "thraesk, trask", lake, fen. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. The surname first appears on record at the beginning of the 14th Century (see below), and a further early recording from the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns, dated 1379, is that of Johannes de Thresk. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Johne, son of Thomas Thirsk, at Ripley, Yorkshire, on December 28th 1569; the marriage of Dorothy Thirsk to George Philips at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London, on June 9th 1700; and the marriage of Judith Thirsk and Benjamin Roper at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London, on August 13th 1781. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Tresk, sutor, which was dated 1300, in the "Register of the Freemen of the City of York", 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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