Tolkin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Tolkin reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Tolkin family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Tolkin 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 Tolkin family

The surname Tolkin 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 Tolkin family

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

Tolkin Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Tooke, Tocque, Took, Touque, Tuck and others.

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

Migration of the Tolkin family

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Tolkin name or one of its variants: James Tooke settled in Virginia in 1623; another James Tooke settled in Virginia in 1637; Ann Took settled in Dominica in 1774.


Contemporary Notables of the name Tolkin (post 1700) +

  • Terry Tolkin (1959-2022), American music executive and music journalist, credited with coining the term "alternative music" in 1979


The Tolkin 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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