The German surname of HORCH was originally derived from a Greek personal name GEORGIOS (from GEORGOS, farmer + ERGEIN, to work, till the land) and the name was in used in England before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Its popularity increased at the time of the crusades, which brought greater contact with the Orthodox Church in which there was a thriving cult of an obscure saint of this name, supposedly martyred at Nicodemia in AD 303, although the authenticity of his very existence is doubtful. In 1348 Edward III founded the Order of the Garter under the patronage of St.George, and in 1415 his day was made a festival of the highest rank. Many other chivalrous orders assumed him as their patron; and he was adopted as guardian saint of Aragon and Portugal. By the end of the Middle Ages he had acquired an entirely unhistorical legend of dragon-slaying exploits, which caught the popular imagination throughout Europe, and was considered the patron saint of England, which is celebrated on the 23rd April. George has been a popular name amongst the royalty of Europe, ranging from George I (1660-1727) king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1717, Elector of Hanover (1698-1727), to George V (1895-1952) king of Great Britain, second son of George V. On the abdication of his elder brother Edward VIII, he ascended the throne in 1936. The name has numerous variant spellings which include GORKY, GYURKO, GIOGIO, GORGES, JURA, GORKO, GURYS and JORAT, to name but a few. A notable member of the name was Arshile GORKY (1905-48) the American-born painter, born in Khorkom Vari in Turkish Armenia. He emigrated to the United States in 1920 and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, and in Boston, moving to New York in 1925. He played a key role in the emergence of the New York School of Action Painters in the 1940's.
The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This Monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work.
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