The surname of PERKS was derived from the Old French word Parc - a dweller in the park enclosure or one who looked after the deer-park. The name was brought to England in the wake of the Norman-Invasion of 1066. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Henry del Parck, 1272 County Kent.
Agnes del Parkes, was documented in the year 1304 in the County of Worcestershire and Thomas Parke of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Elizabeth Parkes was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1611. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
A notable member of the name was Alexander Parks (1813-1890) the English chemist and inventor born in Birmingham. He invented a form of celluloid first patented in 1855. Sir Henry Parke (1815-96) was the English born Australian statesman, born the son of a Yeoman in Warwickshire. He emigrated to New South Wales in 1839, and became eminent as a journalist. He was a member of the colonial parliament in 1845, and held various offices, and from 1872 was repeatedly prime-minister and was identified with free trade.
A family called Parker have been established for centuries in Lancashire; Browsholme Hall, near Clitheroe, was first built by Richard le Parker in 1380, and is still the family seat. The name is extremely widespread; another well-known family are established in Cheshire, where their ancestors were keepers of the royal park.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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