Clark Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History
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The surname Clark is derived from the Latin word “clericus”. This had a variety of meanings depending upon which kind of environment it was being used in. If the word was being used in a religious context then it was usually used to mean a scribe of a religious order. As the only person who could read or write was usually the scribe, therefore it was thought that all people who could read or write were scribes. One particular duty of scribes was to copy important texts, and this is the origin of the term “clerk” in our modern times.
In the context of everyday life, the term was meant as “secretary” and a person who was the personal scribe of another person. This was a secular context of the word which did not involve any religious order.
Origins of name:
Although the surname “clark” and all the variations thereof are thought to have originated in Great Britain’s, there is significant debate on the exact origins of the surname. The most common theories are that the name originated in either Ireland or England.
The theory that this name was first found in England states that the surname “Clark” was first used by a certain Richerius Clericus who is supposed to be a resident of Hampshire, England. He is mentioned in the Domesday Book. This 1086 mention is sometimes called erroneous as the context shows that Richerius may actually have been a “clericus”. Roger Clericus in the thirteenth century is the second mention of this word as a surname. In 1296, when the King of England Edward the First demanded allegiance from the Scottish people there are a number of “Clarks” who were present at the time of the signing of the aptly named “Ragman Roll”. Most histories agree that their number was nine. A peculiar problem arises here that this was also the name of a profession, so we cannot be sure of these people were using this as a surname or merely stating their profession. The first mention of the surname “Clark” as a surname appears no earlier than the fourteenth century when several people are mentioned as having this as their surname.
The second theory is that this name was of pure Irish origin and was first used by Irish people. Proponents of this theory say that that this word has been derived from the Gaelic word”Mac a’ Chlerich/Cleireach, which has the literal meaning of “The cleric’s son”. As celibacy was not in effect at that time, and was not even practiced till centuries later, it appears to be a valid theory that there were many people who were called “Cleric’s son” instead of being called by their true names. As many clerics employed their sons as scribes the “er” may have changed to “ar” due to passage of time, with “Clark” emerging as a result. This theory also states that a native Gaelic O’Cleirigh clan was present in Ireland during the dark ages but soon dispersed to other parts of the country.
There are only three variations of this name that are in common use; Clark, Clarke and Clerk.
The abovementioned theories present the various origins of the surname which are open to debate. However they agree upon the history of this surname after the sixteenth century. In 1620 Richard Clarke sailed aboard the Mayflower. This is the first mention of the name in connection with the United States of America. There is also mention of two other “Clarks” who served in the Swedish Navy in the seventeenth century. The next mention of this name occurs in the early nineteenth century with George Rogers Clark, the American explorer. By 1890 “Clark” and its various variations had become the 32nd most popular Irish name.
Abraham Clark (1725–1794) One of the most famous figures in the American war of independence.
Alan Clark (1928–1999) A popular British political figure who was part of the conservative party
Alister Clark (1864–1949) One of the most famous Rose breeders in the world. He was of Australian decent.
Augusta Clark (1932–2013) Eminent American political figure who was also a lawyer
Helen Clark (b. 1950) The honorable PM of the New Zealand from 1999 till 2008
Mark Wayne Clark (1896–1984) Renowned General of the Army of the United States. He saw action in the Italian theater of war during the second world war and then in the Korean war as well.
Shawn M. Clark (b.1964) One of the most important organizational theorists.
Tom C. Clark (1899–1977) Served as a justice in the supreme court of the United States of America and was the Attorney General of the country as well.
Wesley K. Clark (b.1944) General in the Army of the United States. He saw action in the Vietnam war and the Kosovo War.
Blazons & Genealogy Notes
1) (confirmed 1819 to William Clark, Esq., of Steeple, co. Antrim). Az. on a bend betw. two crosses patee fitchee or, a torteau betw. two trefoils slipped vert. Crest—A boar’s head erased sa. transfixed through the jaws with a broken spear ppr. Motto—Non eget jaculis.
2) Or, a bend engr. az.
3) (Bridwell, in Halberton, co. Devon). Ar. on a bend gu. betw. three pellets as many swans ppr.
4) (Buckland Tout Saints, co. Devon). Erm. a lion ramp. az. on a chief sa. a leopard’s face ar. betw. two crosses crosslet or. Crest—A demi lion gu. collared or, on the shoulder an estoile ar. in the paw a baton sa. Motto—Victor mortalis est.
5) (Bellsfield, Trowbridge, and Cumberland, Bradford, Wilts). Or on a bend betw. two crosses moline gu. three swans ar. Crest—A swan ar. ducally gorged and with chain reflexed over the back or, charged on the wings with an estoile gu. and resting the right foot on a cross moline also gu.
6) (Bishop Wearmouth, co. Durham). Ar. on a bend engr. gu. three swans ppr. Crest—A swan ppr. reposing his dexter foot on an ogress.
7) (Werk, co. Northumberland). Ar. on a chev. betw. three dragons’ heads erased az. as many roses or. Crest—A dragon’s head as in the arms. Motto—Fortitudo.
8) (Belford, co. Northumberland). Erm. on a chev. embattled counterembattled betw. three dragons’ heads erased az. a chaplet betw. two roses or. Crest—A dragon’s head erased az. guttee d’or with a collar embattled counterembattled, arrondie, and charged on the neck with three annulets interlaced gold. Motto—Fortitudo.
9) (Tal-y-garn, co. Glamorgan). Gu. a fleur-de-lis or, and a canton erm. Crest—A lion ramp. or, supporting a shield gu. charged with a cross erm. placed upon a saltire or, over the head “Try and Tryste.” Motto—Non major alio, non minor.
10) (Sir James Clark, Bart., M.D., of St. George’s, Hanover Square, First Physician in Ordinary to Her Majesty). Gu. a fesse chequy ar. and az. betw. two crescents in chief and a lion pass. guard. in base or. Crest—A rock therefrom rising a falcon ppr. belled or, and resting the dexter claw on a ducal coronet of the last. Motto—Amat Victoria curam.
11) (confirmed to James Johnston Clark, Esq., of Largantogher House, Maghera, co. Londonderry). Gu. three swords erect in pale ppr. hilts and pomels or, a canton ar. charged with a trefoil vert. Crest—Out of a mural crown an arm embowed in armour, the hand holding a dagger all ppr., the arm charged with a trefoil vert. Motto—Virtute et labore.
12) (John Clark, M.D., K.H., 1824). Sa. a mullet of six points pierced or, within a bordure ar. charged with three cross crosslets fitchee of the field. Crest—A mullet of six points ar. Motto—Animo et scientia.
13) (Towers-Clark, of Wester Moffat, co. Lanark, 1867). Quarterly, 1st and 4th, az. a fess chequy ar. and aa. betw. three crescents of the second, for Clark; 2nd and 3rd, per pale or and ar. on a bend az. three mullets of the first a bordure gu., for Towers. Crests—A dexter hand holding bendways a scymitar ppr. hilted and pommelled or, for Clark; a tower or, masoned sa., for Towers. Mottoes— Fortiter, for Clark; Turris fords mihi Deus, for Towers.
14) (Achareidh, co. Nairn). Gu. a bear sejant ar. muzzled, collared, and chained ppr. betw. three mullets, two and one, of the second. Crest—A bear, muzzle, collar, and chain, aa in the arms, holding a battle-axe erect ppr. Motto—Sans changer; (over the crest), Dan ni h-andan.
15) (Speddoch, co. Dumfries). Quarterly, 1st and 4th, Clark, sa. an estoile pierced or, within a bordure of the last, charged with three cross crosslets fitchee of the first; 2nd and 3rd, Gilchrist, az. the sun in splendour betw. two crosses pattee fitchee in chief and a mullet in base ar. Crest—Within a serpent in circle an estoile of the arms. Motto—Animo et scientia.
16) (Thornbury, co. Gloucester, London, and Wells and Long Sutton, co. Somerset; Richard Clark, of Long Sutton, son of John Clark, of Wells, grandson of Richard Clark, of London, and great-grandson of John Clark, of Thornbury. Visit. Somerset, 1623. Arms granted by Cooke, Clarenceux, 1576). Gu. two bars ar. in chief three cinquefoils erm.
17) (Trowbridge, Wilts, page 198), represented by Thomas Clark, Esq., J.P. and D.L. for Wilts, and late major of the Wilts volunteers, of Bellefield (not Bellesfield), Trowbridge, and Cumberwell (not Cumberland), near Bradford, co. Wilts.
18) (Edinburgh, 1879). Az. a fesse chequy ar. and sa. betw. two boars’ heads couped in chief of the second, and a crescent in base or, on a canton also of the second a chev. of the third betw. three lions ramp. gu. Crest—A falcon rising ppr. Motto—Honor et virtute.
19) (Frederick Clark, Esq., Great Cumberland Place, London, D.L., co. Hereford). Per pale or and ar. on a bend engr. plain cotised gu. betw. four pellets, a rose betw. two swans close of the second. Crest—Upon the trunk of a tree eradicated fessewise sprouting to the dexter a lark rising ppr. charged on the breast with a rose gu. holding in the beak three ears of wheat slipped or.
20) (Sir William John Clarke, Bart., of Rupertswood, Colony of Victoria, created 1882; this family of Clabrecan be traced in the registries of Weston Zoyland, Somerset, as far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth). Or two bars az. betw. four escallops three in chief, and one in base gu. with two flaunches of the second. Crest—In front of a dexter arm embowed in armour the hand in a gauntlet ppr. grasping an arrow in bend sinister or, flighted, ar. three escallops also or. Motto—Signum quaerens in vellcre.
21) (Waste Court, Abingdon, co. Berks; John Creemer Clarke, Esq., son of Robert Clarke, Esq., of St. Giles-in- the-Wood, co. Devon, by Graciana, his wife, dau. of John Creemer, Esq., of Exbourne, co. Devon. He is J.P. for Abingdon, and chairman of the Abingdon Railway, was mayor of the borough 1876, and elected its M P. 1874 and 1880). Vert on a bend ermine cotised or, betw. three crosses pattee ar. as many swans of the third. Crest—In front of a mount overgrown with clover a lark rising ppr. charged on the breast with a cross pattee ar. and in the beak an ear of wheat or.
22) (Ardington, Berks, descended from John Clarke, of Inkpen, who appears in a list of Berkshire gentry 12 Henry VI.: present representative Colonel Somerset-Molyneux Wiseman-Clarke. Ar. on a fesse betw. three (sometimes six) crosses pattee sa. three plates. Crest—cross pattee or, betw. a pair of wings erect expanded az. Motto—Absit ut glorier nisi in cruce.
23) (Duke’s Bridge House, Bungay Boyscott, co. Suffolk). Ar. on a bend gu. betw. three torteaux as many swans ppr. Crest—A swan ppr.
24) (Enfield; the dau. and co-heir of the late Dr. Joseph Clarke m. Meymott). Ar. on a bend gu. betw. three pellets as many swans ppr. a canton sinister az. charged with a demi ram mounting ar. armed or, betw. two fleurs-de-lis in chief of the last on it a dexter baton ar.
25) (Bridwell House, co. Devon; Tremlett, co. Somerset). Ar. on a bend gu. betw. three pellets as many swans ppr. Crest—A lark rising holding in the beak an ear of wheat ppr. Motto—Carpe diem.
26) (Northamptonshire). Ar. on a bend gu. betw. three ogresses as many swans ppr. Crest—A lark with wings expanded ppr. holding in the beak an ear of wheat or.
27) (Spaldington, co. York). Az. three escallops in pale ar. betw. two flaunches erm.
28) (Dunham Lodge, Norfolk, bart.). Ar. on a bend cotised gu. betw. three annulets sa. as many swans of the first. Crest—A mount vert thereon a lark wings elevated or, in the beak an ear of wheat ppr. the dexter claw resting on an annulet as in the arms.
29) (Shirland, co. Nottingham, bart.). Gu. three swords erect in pale ar. hilts or. Crest— A hand couped at the wrist ppr. holding a sword as in the arms.
30) (Bedfordshire). Per chev. az. and ar. in chief three leopards’ heads or, in base an eagle displ. gu. Crest—A goat salient ar. attired or, against a pine tree ppr.
31) (Dundon, co. Buckingham). Per chev. az. and ar. three eagles displ. counterchanged in chief a leopard’s face or. Crest—A goat ar. attired or, salient against a tree vert.
32) (Snailwell, co. Cambridge, created bart. 1698, extinct 1806). Or, on a bend engr. az. a mullet ar. Crest—A talbot’s head erased or.
33) (Hyde Hall, co. Chester, as borne by the descendants of George Clarke, Esq., Lieut.-Governor of New York (son of George Clarke, of Swanswick, co. Somerset), who m. Anne, dau. and heir of Edward Hyde, Esq., of Hyde Hall). Az. three escallops in pale or, betw. two flaunches erm. quartering the Arms of Hyde. Crests—1st: A pheon ppr.; 2nd: An eagle with wings expanded sa. beaked and membered or.
34) (Somersall, afterwards of Chilcote and Sutton, co. Derby: the last male heir, Godfrey Bagnall Clarke, Esq., d. in 1786, his sister and heir m. Job Hart Price, Esq., who took the name of Clarke, and left an only dau. Anne, to. to Walter, 1st Marquess of Ormonde). Az. three escallops or, betw. two flaunches erm. Crest—In a gem ring or, set with a diamond sa. a pheon ar.
35) (co. Gloucester, and London, 1586). Or, two bars az. in chief three escallops of the second. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi lion ppr.
36) (co. Hereford. Her. Coll.). Ar. a chev. betw. three lions ramp. vert. Crest—A lion ramp. vert, holding a pen ar.
37) (co. Essex). Ar. on a fesse sa. betw. two chevs. of the second three crosses crosslet fitchee or. Crest—A greyhound sejant sa.
38) (Bridgar, co. Kent). Erm. three pales wavy sa. Crest—A fleur-de-lis per pale ar. and sa.
39) (Ford, cos. Kent and Essex). Or, on a bend engr. az. a cinquefoil of the first. Crest—A greyhound’s head couped or, charged on the neck with a cinquefoil az.
40) (Kent). Gu. on a fesse engr. or, betw. three cinquefoils erm. two swans’ necks erased sa. beaked gu. on their necks three guttees d’argent fesseways.
41) (Kingsdown House, co. Kent). Az. a chev. ar. betw. three swans ppr. Crest—A demi griffin ar. issuing from flames ppr. Motto—In medio tutissimus.
42) (Kent; granted 1621). Barry of four vert and gu. three plates. Crest—A unicorn’s head erased ar. crined and armed or, gorged with a collar gu. charged with three plates.
43) (Kent). Erm. on a fesse gu. three bezants.
44) (Kent). Sa. two pales wavy erm.
45) (Handsworth, co. Stafford, formerly of Lincolnshire). Erm. on a fesse gu. three bezants on a canton of the second a stag’s head cabossed ar. Crest—A sinister wing or.
46) (Creeton, Lincoln, 1640). Gu. a saltire engr. betw. three horses’ heads couped one in chief and two in fesse or.
47) (Summer Hill, co. Lancaster). Az. three escallops in pale or and two flaunches erm. on a chief ar. three lions ramp. of the first quartering erm. on a bend gu. three annulets or, on a chief az. three leopards’ beads affrontee erased of the third. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi bull ramp. erm. horned of the first. Motto—Esperance en Dieu.
48) (Hampshire). Ar. three escallops in pale betw. two flaunches az. guttee d’or, on a chief of the second a bull’s head couped of the third, betw. two martlets of the first.
49) (Shrewsbury). Az. three escallops in pale or, betw two flaunches erm. on a chief ar. three lions ramp. guard. of the field. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, an am armed of the first.
50) Or, three escallops in pale az. betw. two flaunches of the last guttee d’or, on a chief of the second a bull’s head erased, betw. two pewits (or doves) of the first.
51) (London). Sa. on a bend engr. ar. three lozenges of the first. Crest—A talbot’s head or, gorged with a fesse engr. az. charged with three lozenges gold.
52) (London). Sa. on a pale ar. the letter Y gu. Crest—On a plate ar. the letter Y gu. over it a scroll.
53) (London). Ar. on a bend engr. az. a cross crosslet fitchee or. Crest—A demi lion ramp. or, holding a cross crosslet fitchee az.
54) (London). Gu. two bars ar. in chief three cinquefoils of the last. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi bull erm., armed, &c., or.
55) (London). Per fesse ar. and gu. a pale counterchanged, three greyhounds’ heads erased of the second.
56) (Middlesex). Gu. three bars vert, in chief as many plates.
57) (Sir John Clarke, of Stamford, Sheriff of Northamptonshire, temp. Henry VIII.). Az. fretty ar.
58) (Oxfordshire; augmentation granted for taking prisoner Lewis D’Oleans, 5 Henry VIII., 1513). Ar. on a bend gu. betw. three pellets as many swans ppr. for augmentation a canton sinister az. thereon a demi ram mounting of the first, armed or, betw. two fleurs-de-lis of the last, over all a dexter baton of the second. Crest—A ram’s head ar. attired.
59) (Sandford). Az. two bars or, on a chief of the last three escallops sa.
60) (co. Somerset and London). Or, two bars az. in chief three escallops gu. Crest—An arm embowed in armour ppr. holding in the gauntlet an arrow or, headed and feathered ar.
61) (co. Hereford). Gu. two bars ar. in chief three escallops or. Crest—An escallop quarterly gu. and or.
62) (co. Somerset). Per chev. or and gu. three lions’ heads erased counterchanged.
63) (cos. Somerset and Devon). Sa. three plates.
64) (Kettleston, co. Suffolk; confirmed 20 Jan., 1559). Ar. a chev. betw. three griffins’ heads erased sa. on a chief of the last three mascles of the first. Crest—An elephant’s head, quarterly, gu. and or.
65) (Ipswich, co. Suffolk). Or, two bars az. over all a nag’s head erased ar. in chief three escallops gu. Crest—A nag’s head erased sa.
66) (Ipswich, co. Suffolk). Erm. on a bend engr. sa. three conger eels’ heads erased ar. collared with a bar gemel gu. Crest—A conger eel’s head erased and erect gu. collared with a bar gemel or.
67) (East Bareholt, co. Suffolk). Or, two chev. gu. a canton of the last charged with an escallop of the field.
68) (co. Suffolk). Gu. an inescutcheon betw. four lions ramp. ar.
69) (co. Northampton). Per pale gu. and or, a bend and border counterchanged. Crest—Out of a mural coronet ar. a cubit arm in armour, holding a scimetar ppr. hilted or.
70) (Ashgate and Norton Hall, co. Derby). Gu. a bear ramp. ar. collared of the field betw. three mullets of the second. Crest—A bear ramp. az. collared and chained sa. holding a battle-axe gu.
71) (Elm Bank, Leatherhead, co. Surrey). Gu. a bear ramp. erm. gorged with an eastern crown or, betw. three mullets pierced ar. Crest—A bear, as in the arms, gorged with a naval crown or, line reflexed over the back gu. supporting a battle-axe erect ppr. Motto—Moenibus crede ligneis.
72) (Norfolk). Or, on a bend engr. az. a mullet ar. Crest—An eagle’s leg gu. joined to a wing or.
73) (Welton-place, co. Northampton; John Plomer, assumed by Act of Parliament, 15 George, III., the name and arms of Clarke, on inheriting the estates of his maternal ancestors). Ar. on a bend gu. betw. three torteaux as many swans ar. Crest—A swan rising ar. ducally gorged and chained or.
74) (Ockley, co. Surrey). Per fesse ar. and ar. on a fesse sa. betw. three crosses pattee in chief of the last, and a heron in base of the first, three plates. Crest—On a ducal coronet or, a cross pattee of the last, betw. two phoenix wings expanded sa.
75) (Salford, co. Warwick. See Woodchurch. These arms were confirmed as a quartering by the Deputies of Camden, Clarenceux, to Sir Simon Clarke, 10th in descent from Clarke Woodchurch, who m. Susan, dau. and heir of Henry Clarke). Gu. three swords in pale ar. Crest—A fleur-de-lis per pale ar. and sa.
76) (Westminster, co. Middlesex, and Yorkshire). Or, on a bend engr. az. an escallop ar. Crest—A demi griffin, wings endorsed or, gorged with a collar engr. az.
77) (Yorkshire). Ar. on a bend engr. az. a cross crosslet or. Crest—A demi lion or, holding in the dexter paw a cross crosslet fitchee az.
78) (Knedlington, co. York). Ar. on a chev. gu. betw. three wolves’ heads erased az. as many roses of the field, on a canton sa. a lion’s head erased or. Crest—On a chapeau az. turned up erm. two wings expanded out of a ducal coronet, betw. them the word “ Elmer” in Saxon characters. Motto—The time will come.
79) (Yorkshire). Or, a bend engr. az.
80) Or, a cross raguly betw. four trefoils slipped vert. Crest—A peacock’s head erased ppr. in the beak a trefoil slipped vert.
81) Or, a fesse ermines betw. three trefoils slipped vert. Crest—A demi lion ramp. or.
82) Ar. a chev. betw three eagles’ heads erased sa. on a chief of the second as many mascles of the first.
83) Quarterly, ar. and vert, a cross counterchanged.
84) Erm. the field replenished with trefoils slipped sa. a fesse gu.
85) Ar. three ogresses.
86) Ar. three ravens sa.
87) Sa. three fleurs-de-lis betw. seven crosses crosslet ar.
88) (Berks: granted to John Creemer Clarke, Esq., of Waste Court, Abingdon, co. Berks, M.P. for Abingdon, and J.P. for that borough, eldest son of Robert Clarke, Esq., of St. Giles’s-in-the-Wood, co. Devon, by Graciana, his wife, dau. of John Creemer, of Exbourne, co. Devon, and to the other descendants of the aforesaid Robert Clarke, his father). Vert on a bend ermine cottised or, betw. three crosses pattee ar. as many swans of the third. Crest—In front of a mount overgrown with clover, a lark rising ppr. charged on the breast with a cross pattee ar., and in the beak an ear of wheat or. Motto—Carpe diem.
89) (or Clarkes). Sa. three tenter-hooks ar.
90) (Sir William Clarke, knighted by Sir William Russell, Lord Deputy of Ireland, on a hill near Enniskillen, 1 Sept. 1594). Gu. on a bend ar. three swans sa. on a sinister canton per bend or and az. a demi goat ramp. betw. two fleurs-de-lis all counterchanged.
91) (Ireland). Az. on a bend engr. ar. three torteaux.
92) (Cresses Green House, co. Cork, and Rossmore, same co., bart. See Travers). Ar. on a bend cottised gu. an eastern crown or, betw. two swans ppr. the whole within a bordure vert. Crest—Out of an eastern crown gu. a demi dragon, wings elevated or. Motto—Constantia et fidelitate.
93) (Ireland; granted 1648). Erm. on a fesse betw. three griffins’ heads erased, gu. as many bezants. Crest—A seahorse vert.
94) (granted by St. George, Ulster, to Samuel Clarke, Attorney-General to James, Duke of York, afterwards James II.; descended from the Clarkes, of Willoughby, co. Warwick, 25 April, 1667). Ar. on a bend gu. betw. three pellets as many swans of the first, for augmentation, on a sinister canton of the second a lion pass. guard. or, betw. two flaunches erm.
95) (Ireland, 1717, Simon Clarke, of Dublin, son of John Clarke, of Roan, co. Meath). Gu. a saltire betw. four horses heads erased or. Crest—A horse’s head erased or, charged with a cross pattee gu.
96) (granted 4 June, 1804, to William Clarke, Esq., of the city of Cork, son of Sylvester Clarke, who was second son of William Clarke, an officer in the army of William III.) Ar. on a bend gu. cottised az. betw. three pellets two swans of the first an antique crown or betw. Crest—On the stump of a tree couped, eradicated, and sprouting, on each side a lark perched ppr., the wings expanded, holding in the beak two wheat ears or. and sprouting, on each side a lark perched ppr., the wings expanded, holding in the beak two wheat ears or.
97) (granted 10 March, 1806, to the heirs general of William Clarke, Esq., of Summer Island, co. Armagh, and exemplified 13 March, 1806, to Walter O’Donnell, Esq., of Summer Island, on his assuming, by royal licence, the name and arms of Clarke). Or, on a bend az. betw. three torteaux as many swans ppr. Crest—A demi ram erminois. Motto—Vir gregis.