This surname ROCKS was a habitation name from a place named with this word, such as Rock in Northumberland. The name was derived from the Old Norman word la Roche, and Adam de Roc, who witnessed a charter in Scotland in the year 1170, appears to be the first of the name on record. Waldef le la Rouch was a monk of Dunfermline in 1296, and Thomas Rouche held a croft of land in the barony of Lesmahagow in 1348. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. Later instances of the name mention Henry Rouch who appears as a procurator for the bishop of Brechin in 1519, and John Rough, a Dominican of the monastery of Stirling was 'the first man whom John Knox received any taste of truth'. David Rouche has a charter of three sixteenth parts of the vill and lands of Newbirneton in 1601. The names of habitation are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages, farmsteads or other named habitations. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and in fact whole countries. As a general rule, the further someone travelled from his place of origin, the broader the designation. Someone who stayed at home might be known by the name of his farm or locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another county could acquire the name of the county or region from which he originated. The surname is now not uncommon in Perthshire.
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