Tok History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Tok reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Tok family lived in Touques in the arrondissement of Pont L'Evesque, at the mouth of the river so called in Normandy. "Le Seigneur de Touque appears on the list of those who fought under William the Conqueror both in the Norman Chronicle and in the Romati de Rou." [1]

Early Origins of the Tok family

The surname Tok was first found in Yorkshire where Toc or Toka (no forename) was listed in the Domesday Survey of 1086. [2] Wace, the historian, mentions the Baron Touque as amongst the Companions of Duke William, at Hastings in 1066.

Other early entries for the family include: Rogerus filius Toke, who was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls for Northumberland in 1214; Wrange Tocha in the Pipe Rolls for Norfolk in 1166; Henry Thoche in Lincolnshire in the 12th century; Robert Toke in the Pipe Rolls for Suffolk in 1200; William Toke in the Curia Regis Rolls for Northumberland in 1211; and Robert Touk, who was found in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1325. [3]

"The surname is found spelled in 17 different ways. One of the most ancient is Toke, as preserved in the Godington family for many centuries. The Tookes of Hurston Clays, co. Sussex, of London, Herts, Dorset, &c., proven descendants of that house, have employed this orthography from the XVI. century." [4]

"In Nottinghamshire the Toukes were to be found for about three hundred years. William de Tulc, or Tuke, during the reign of Stephen, held of Ralph Silvain in Kelham, part of the great Richmond Fee, and was a benefactor of Rufford Abbey. His son William confirmed and added to his gifts, and he gave account of two marks, for having his land again, whereof he was disseized for being in Nottingham Castle, as most of our Nottinghamshire gentry were at that time, with Earl John." [1]

Henry, his heir, was living in 1218, and was followed by two Sir Walters, father and son, then by another Henry, and a Simon, mentioned in 1337.

There is a Kentish family of this name, derived from Robert de Toke, who was present with Henry III. at the battle of Northampton in 1264. His greatgrandson was seated at Westcliffe in Kent; and from him, in the fifth generation, descended John Toke of Bere, living in the reigns of Henry V. and Henry VI.

We would be remiss if we did not address the legendary Friar Tuck. Two royal writs in 1417 refer to Robert Stafford, a Sussex chaplain who had assumed the alias of Frere Tuk. Little more is known about him other than this "Friar Tuck" was still at large in 1429.

Early History of the Tok family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tok research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1130, 1175, 1545, 1498, 1580, 1657, 1615, 1674, 1663, 1595, 1675, 1598, 1673, 1732 and 1698 are included under the topic Early Tok History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tok 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 Tok include Tooke, Tocque, Took, Touque, Tuck and others.

Early Notables of the Tok family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Brian Tuke (d. 1545), secretary to Henry VIII, he was apparently son of Richard Tuke (d. 1498?); Thomas Tuke (c.1580-1657), an English clergyman and controversial writer, of Royalist views in later life; Sir Samuel Tuke (c.1615-1674), 1st Baronet, English officer in the Royalist army during the English Civil War and a notable playwright, best known for his 1663 play "The Adventure of...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tok Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Tok family

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 Toks to arrive on North American shores: James Tooke settled in Virginia in 1623; another James Tooke settled in Virginia in 1637; Ann Took settled in Dominica in 1774.



The Tok 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: Militia mea multiplex
Motto Translation: My warfare is manifold.


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.


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