The surname of BARKER was of the occupational group of surnames 'the barker' one who stripped trees of bark for the tanner, then a preparer of bark for tanning. In a conversation between Edward IV. (1461-1483) and the tanner of Tamworth (Percy) it was said ' What craftsman art though? ' said the King 'I pray tell me trowe' - I am barker sir, by my trade: now tell me, what art thou!. The name was also used as an occupational name for a shepherd, and was originally derived from the Old Norman word BERCHER. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. Early records of the name mention Alan le Barkere of the County of Cambridge, documented in the year 1273. William de York Barker of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Notable members of the name were Robert Barker (1739-1806) the Irish portrait painter, born in Kells. In 1788 he exhibited the earliest known panorama of Edinburgh, where he resided. Thomas Barker of Bath (1769-1847) was the English painter of rural and other scenes, born near Pontypool, Wales. His eldest son Thomas Jones Barker (1815-82) was born in Bath, a painter of famous battles. Originally 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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