The surname of CLERC was derived from the Latin Clericus - a man in a religious order, a cleric. All writing and secretarial work was done by the clergy in the middle ages, and the term came to mean a penman or scholar. Early records of the name mention Richerius Clericus listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. The earliest name on record in Scotland was Roger Clericus, who held land in Kelso in the year 1174. Reginald Clerc was documented in the year of 1205 in London. John le Clerk, was recorded in the year 1272 in London. Edwin Clarke, of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Clerc possessed a territory in Edinburgh in the year of 1446. John Clerk of Leith (Shipmaster) was granted a safe conduct to travel from Scotland into England in the year 1446. Robert Clarke and Margaret Mayson were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1557. Richard, son of Rumboll Clarke was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1583. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
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