Cleek History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cleek is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Cleek family once lived in the region of Clegg in Rochdale in the county of Lancashire. In some cases, this name was derived from the Gaelic MacLiagh, meaning "son of the physician." One source claims that the name was "Old Norse, kleggi, a compact mass. There was a Northman with this surname in the Landnamabok." [1]

Early Origins of the Cleek family

The surname Cleek was first found in Lancashire where "almost all our Cleggs hail from Clegg, or Clegg Hall, in the parish of Rochdale." [2] "Clegg was the name of a very ancient family of Clegg Hall near Rochdale; but the estate passed out of the family by marriage in the reign of Edward VI. The name is common in the Rochdale registers of the 16th century, and it is still in the town." [3]

Early rolls revealed: Nicholas de Clegg and Mathew de Clegg in Lancashire in 1360. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list: Ricardus de Cleghe and Henricus de Cloghe. Much later, the Wills of Chester list Thomas Clegg as a tanner in Middleton, Lancashire in 1581 and the same listing included Arthur Clegg, of Fieldhouse in the parish of Rochdale in 1608. [2]

Early History of the Cleek family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cleek research. Another 93 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1679, 1755, 1702, 1714, 1746, 1723, 1743, 1744, 1746 and are included under the topic Early Cleek History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cleek Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Cleek family name include Clegg, Clegge, Cleg, Claig, Claigg, Claige, Cleig, Cleigg, Clegges, Clegs, Cllege, Cleagg, Cleagge and many more.

Early Notables of the Cleek family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include James Clegg, M.D. (1679-1755), a Presbyterian minister and author from Rochdale, Lancashire. "He was educated by the Rev. Richard Frankland at...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cleek Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cleek family to Ireland

Some of the Cleek family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 279 words (20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cleek migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Cleek surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Cleek Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Michael, Mathias, and Jacob Cleek, who settled in America in 1732 (their brother Baltas Cleek died on route)


The Cleek 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: Qui potest capere capiat
Motto Translation: Let him take who can take.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.


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