Clarken History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Clarken is an Anglo-Saxon name. The name was originally given to a person who concerned himself with matters of scholarly importance or of religious orders or as a secretary. The surname Clarken 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 Clarken family

The surname Clarken 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 Clarken family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clarken 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 Clarken History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Clarken Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Clarken has appeared include Clark, Clerk and others.

Early Notables of the Clarken 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 Clarken Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Clarken family to Ireland

Some of the Clarken 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.

United States Clarken migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Clarken arrived in North America very early:

Clarken Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Chris Clarken, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1834 [6]

New Zealand Clarken migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Clarken Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Clarken, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Excelsior" in 1871
  • Catherine Clarken, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Excelsior" in 1871
  • Peter Clarken, aged 54, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Parsee" in 1873
  • Ellen Clarken, aged 50, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Parsee" in 1873
  • Owen Clarken, aged 18, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Parsee" in 1873

Contemporary Notables of the name Clarken (post 1700) +

  • Richard M. Clarken, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 12th District, 1875-77 [7]

The Clarken 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. ^ Lowe, 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)
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from on Facebook
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