The surname of WALDOCK was a locational name 'the dweller in the wood or forest' from residence nearby. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived. The noble family of this name trace their descent from Widukind III, Count of Schwalenberg (1116-37). His descendants acquired the Castle of Waldeck, circa. 1150 and took their name from it. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name. Other records of the name mention Edwin Walducke, 1300 County Yorkshire, and Roger Henry Waldock appears in 1379 in Yorkshire. 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.
A notable member of the name was Sir Claud Humphrey Meredith Waldock (1904-81) the English jurist, born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He was educated at Uppingham and Brasenose College, Oxford, he was professor of international law at Oxford (1947-72), member of the European Commission on Human Rights (1954-61) and judge of the European Court of Human Rights (1966-74). He acted as a consultant on many issues of international law. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory.
Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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