Recorded in several forms including Wark, Warcus, Wirks, Work, Worke, Workes, Works and possibly Worcs, this is an English surname but of pre 7th century Germanic origins. It derives from the ancient word 'geweorc' meaning a fortification or defensive wall, and later a factory, a place where work was carried on, andd as such may describe a worker at such a place, or possibly one who lived 'by the work'. The surname first appears in the Poll Tax rolls of the county of Yorkshire in the year 1379, Robertus del Werk being so recorded, and clearly this is locational for one who lived at such a place. Later examples include Richard Worke at the church known as St Andrew's Holborn, in the city of London, on September 18th 1614, and Sarah Wirks, who married James Parker at St James church, Dukes Place, westminster, on July 23rd 1702. Occupational surnames whilst amongst the first to be created, only became hereditary when a son followed his father into the same line of business. Perhaps surprisingly this particular surname is more popular in North America and better recorded at least from the 17th century, than in the land of its birth.
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