The Dutch surname of VAN DYK was a locational name 'the dweller by the ditch or dyke' from residence nearby. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The medieval dyke was larger and more prominent than the modern ditch, and was usually constructed for purposes of defence rather than drainage. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his best means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. Other spellings of the name include DEETCHE, DIKES, DEEKER, VAN DYKMAN, DYKMAN, VAN DIJCK, VAN DIJKEN, VAN DYKEN, DIKJMAN and DYKMAN. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. Compared to other countries, Dutch heraldry is notably simpler, some of the shields bearing only a single charge. Generally speaking one helmet, one shield and one crest has been used, quartering is uncommon and mottoes are rare. A notable member of the name was Sir Anthony VAN DYCK or VANDYKE (1599-1641) the Flemish painter, one of the great masters of portraiture of the 17th century. He was born in Antwerp, the son of a cloth manufacturer. He studied painting and in 1618 he was admitted a master of the guild of St. Luke at Antwerp, and in 1620 was commissioned to paint the Lady Arundel, wife of Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel. On this visit to England, records show that he also executed a full-length portrait of James IV at Windsor. At the Hague, he painted the Prince of Orange. In 1632 he was knighted by Charles I.
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