- This interesting name is one of the patronymic forms of the medieval occupational surname "Clark", and means "son of Clerk". In the Middle Ages the term "Clerk" was used of a scribe or secretary or for a member of a minor religious order. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Cler(e)c", meaning priest originally, but since the clergy of minor orders were allowed to marry and so found families the surname could become established. Also during the Middle Ages, virtually the only people able to read and write were members of religious orders and it was therefore natural that "clark" or "clerk" would come to mean a scholar or any literate man such as a professional secretary. Roger Clarson married Jone Sturgen at St. Margaret's, Westminster on the 13th June 1540. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Clerson, which was dated 1431, Register of the Freeman of the City of York, during the reign of King Henry VI, The Founder of Eton, 1422 - 1461. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.