Show ContentsClarcke History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Clarcke comes from when its first bearer worked as a person who concerned himself with matters of scholarly importance or of religious orders or as a secretary. The surname Clarcke originally derived from the Latin form clericus. Even today, the word and profession clerk is typically pronounced clark throughout the United Kingdom.

The name may have been Norman in origin, having descended from the name Le Clerc and generally means "a learned person-that is, one who could in old times read and write-accomplishments. " [1]

Indeed, the name was seen in early rolls in both Normandy and England. "Twenty of the name occur in 1198; of these, nine also occur in England 1199; and the families of the name generally seem to have had members in both countries." [2]

Early Origins of the Clarcke family

The surname Clarcke was first found in Hampshire where Richerius clericus was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. A few years later, Willelm le Clerec was listed in Somerset in 1100 and Reginald Clerc was listed in the Curia Rolls of Rutland in 1205. [3]

"Absent in Wales, and scarce in most of the counties on the Welsh border. Best represented in Buckinghamshire, Essex, Leicestershire, Rutlandshire, and Nottinghamshire. " [4]

"As a surname, Clarke appears frequently to have aliased some other appellative; for instance the Baronet family, Clarke of Salford, originally Woodchurch, from the parish of that name in Kent, soon after the Conquest became Clarkes (Le Clerc) in consequence of a marriage with an heiress, and the family for some generations wrote themselves "Woodchurch alias Le Clerc," and vice versa." [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 proved the widespread use of the name in both Latin and early English forms: Boniface Clericus, Lincolnshire; Thomas le Clerk, Lincolnshire; Batekyn Clericus, Essex; Gilbert le Clerk, Oxfordshire; and Tomas le Clerck, Buckinghamshire. [5]

Yet just over one hundred years later, the "Le" prefix was dropped and the Latin form of the name was deprecated as seen in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 which listed: Robertus Clarke; Beatrix Clerc; and Henricus Clerk. [5]

Early History of the Clarcke family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clarcke research. Another 76 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1599, 1683, 1655, 1675, 1729, 1639, 1714, 1659, 1735, 1689 and are included under the topic Early Clarcke History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Clarcke Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Clarcke include Clark, Clerk and others.

Early Notables of the Clarcke family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Sir James Clark, a physician to the King; Samuel Clarke (1599-1683), an English clergyman and significant Puritan biographer; William Clerk, LL.D...
Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clarcke Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Clarcke family to Ireland

Some of the Clarcke family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 107 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Clarcke family

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Clarcke or a variant listed above: Edward Clark and Joe Clark, who both settled in Virginia in 1635; as did Anne Clark in 1663; Henry Clark, who immigrated to Barbados in 1680; Donald Clark and his wife Barbara Grey, who came to Georgia in 1735 with their five children, Hugh Clark, who emigrated from Scotland to Georgia in 1757.

The Clarcke Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fortitudo
Motto Translation: Fortitude.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6) on Facebook