Clarke / Family History
The Clarke ancient family history was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Clarke is an occupational name meaning 'scholar' and is derived from a clerk in the Holy Orders. Variants include Clarkson, Clark, Clerk, Clerke, Clery and Cleary. This name is of Anglo-Saxon descent spreading to the Celtic countries of Ireland, Scotland and Wales in early times and is found in many mediaeval manuscripts throughout the above islands. Examples of such are a Boniface Clericus, of County Linconshire, England who was recorded in the 'Hundred Rolls' in the year 1273, and a James the Clerk was witness to a Charter by Richard de Bancori of land in Dumfriesshire, Scotland in the year 1249. A Robertus Clarke was recorded in the 'Poll Tax', of the West Riding of Yorkshire in the year 1379. In Ireland the name is often spelt as Clark as well as Clarke and descends from Cleireach, who was of the line of Guaire the Hospitable, King of Connacht, 820 AD. The name Clarke derives from O'Clery although some of this name were originally from England.The Clarke family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Clarke descendants.