Monk History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Monk was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a name for a monk. Further research showed the name was derived from the Old English word munuc, of the same meaning, and would indicate that the original bearer was a Monk in the medieval period (celibacy among monks was not generally adopted until the later Middle Ages, so some of them would have had families). On the other hand, the surname may be a nickname to describe someone who was perhaps a recluse.

Early Origins of the Monk family

The surname Monk was first found in Devon where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor of Potheridge and descended from a Norman noble, Le Moyne, who attended Duke William at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Conjecturally they are descended from the holder of the lands of Potheridge at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book in 1086, Aubrey from Baldwin the Sheriff of Devon, who held a mare and three clusters of horses at Great and Little Potheridge and Potheridge Gate. William Le Moyne's principal seat was at Dunster Castle. From this distinguished family name are descended the ancient and ardent royalist house of the Dukes of Albermarle.

"The parish of Merton is celebrated as containing the manor of Potheridge, the home for many descents of the family of Monk, made illustrious in their descendant, the famous General. There is some little confusion as to the exact place of [Col. Thomas] Monk's birth (1608), arising from the fact that he was baptized, not at Merton, but at Landcross, a parish some miles distant, adjoining Bideford. Hence he has been variously regarded as being born at Potheridge and at Landcross. However, Potheridge was both the seat of his family and became his own chief residence. The mansion was rebuilt by him for that purpose ; but in greater part was destroyed after the death of the widow of his son Christopher, the second and last duke, in 1734." [1]

Moynes Court is a building in the village of Mathern, Monmouthshire, Wales, which dates back to c. 1609. The original manor dates back to c. 1254.

Early History of the Monk family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Monk research. Another 37 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1608, 1670, 1660, 1653, 1688, 1610, 1661, 1659, 1701, 1689, 1690, 1715, 1627 and 1797 are included under the topic Early Monk History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Monk Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Monk include Monk, Monks, Monck, Moncks, Monckes and others.

Early Notables of the Monk family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608-1670), English general and statesman, instrumental in the restoration of Charles II to the English throne in 1660; Christopher Monck, 2nd Duke of Albemarle, KG, PC (1653-1688), an English soldier and politician; Nicholas Monck (c...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Monk Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Monk World Ranking

In the United States, the name Monk is the 2,340th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [2] However, in New Zealand, the name Monk is ranked the 596th most popular surname with an estimated 1,205 people with that name. [3] And in the United Kingdom, the name Monk is the 883rd popular surname with an estimated 7,743 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Monk family to Ireland

Some of the Monk family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Monk migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Monks to arrive on North American shores:

Monk Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Monk, who landed in Maryland in 1662 [5]
  • Thomas Monk, who arrived in Maryland in 1668 [5]
  • George Monk, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1698 [5]
Monk Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Conrad Monk, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [5]
  • Ann and Joseph Monk, who arrived in New York in 1773
Monk Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Patrick Monk, who landed in New York, NY in 1817 [5]
  • Fanny,George and Sarah Monk, who arrived in New York in 1820
  • Joseph Monk, aged 19, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1832 [5]
  • William Monk, aged 20, who landed in New York in 1849 [5]
  • Enoch Monk, aged 14, who arrived in New York in 1864 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Monk migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Monk Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Richard Monk, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • James Monk, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Monk, who settled in Bonavista in 1797
Monk Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Monk was a fisherman of Red Harbour in 1860

Australia Monk migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Monk Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Monk, British Convict who was convicted in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Earl Spencer" in May 1813, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. John Monk, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Camden" on 21st September 1832, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. George Monk, English convict who was convicted in Devon, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 27th April 1833, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • John Luke Monk a labourer, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836 [9]
  • Mr. Peter Monk, English convict who was convicted in Essex, England for life, transported aboard the "Charles Kerr" on 6th June 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Monk 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:

Monk Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Monk, aged 32, a gardener, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Phoebe Monk, aged 32, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Ellen Monk, aged 10, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Emma Monk, aged 8, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • Lucy Monk, aged 7, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Birman" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Monk migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [11]
Monk Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Peter Monk, who settled in Barbados in 1634
  • Mr. Peter Monk, (b. 1605), aged 29, British settler travelling from London, UK arriving in St Christopher (St. Kitts) on 5th January 1634 [5]
  • Henry Monk, who arrived in Barbados with his wife and servants in 1680

Contemporary Notables of the name Monk (post 1700) +

  • Tom B. Monk, American politician, Mayor of Sacramento, California, 1938-45 [12]
  • Robert W. Monk, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wisconsin, 1936 [12]
  • James W. Monk, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Kings County 9th District, 1882 [12]
  • Dudley Monk, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Oklahoma, 1924 [12]
  • Quincy Omar Monk (1979-2015), American NFL football linebacker who played from 2002 to 2004
  • Debra Monk (b. 1949), American actress, singer, and writer
  • Art Monk (b. 1957), American football player
  • Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-1982), American jazz musician awarded a special citation in 2006 by the Pulitzer Prize jury
  • Meredith Monk (b. 1943), American composer, performer, director, vocalist, film-maker, and choreographer
  • Franklin H. Monk, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales


Suggested Readings for the name Monk +

  • The Monk Family by Charles Harwood Bowman.

  1. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  4. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 8th September 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-spencer
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 2nd December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/camden
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HMS BUFFALO 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836Buffalo.htm
  10. ^ Convict Records of Australia ( retrieved 1st February 2021, retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/charles-kerr)
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  13. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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