The surname of CREEK was a locational name 'the dweller at the creek' an inlet or cove. There are places named North and South Creak in County Norfolk, from where the original bearer may have derived his name. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land. SUTHCREICH (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, appears to be the first of the name on record. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy conquered England. He was crowned King, and most of the lands of the English nobility were soon granted to his followers. Domesday Book was compiled 20 years later. The Saxon Chronicle records that in 1085 'at Gloucester at midwinter, the King had deep speech with his counsellors, and sent men all over England to each shire to find out, what or how much each landowner held in land and livestock, and what it was worth. The returns were brought to him'. William was thorough. One of his Counsellors reports that he also sent a second set of Commissioners 'to shires they did not know and where they were themselves unknown, to check their predecessors' survey, and report culprits to the King'. The information was collected at Winchester, corrected, abridged, and copied by one single writer into a single volume. Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were copied, by several writers into a second volume. The whole undertaking was completed at speed, in less than 12 months. Other records of the name mention Ralph Crake, who was documented in the year 1273 in County Yorkshire. Phillipuss de Crayk of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. A later instance of the name mentions William Appleby who married Elizabeth Creek at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1788. The name has many variant spellings which include CRAIK, CRAKE, and CREEK. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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