Larkins in Britain

The English Larkin Families:  
Sussex and Kent Larkin, Larkins, Larking, Larkinson, Lorkin & Lorking are some of the many modern surnames that arose as a diminutive of the old French personal name of LAURENCE in post-conquest Norman England. - The Origins of English Surnames. P.H. Reaney (d.1967). The name Laurence became popular among other saints names during the twelfth century. The name developed in England about four centuries after that of Ireland and is common from the thirteenth century. It developed in two separate areas of England. 
Suffolk, Cambridge and Bedford.   About the year 1300 nearly one third of Englishmen were known by the name of William or John- so that the pet name and nick form were necessities. Pet forms, Kin, relationship, thence family or offspring, child or young one, appended to baptismal names it became very familiar. So children of Laurence or Larry, became Larrykin and hence Larkin.

There were no scripture names in England when the Conqueror took possession; even in Normandy they had appeared but a generation or two before William came over. If any were found in the old English period, we may feel assured that were ecclesiastic titles adopted at ordination. Greek and Latin saints were equally unnoticed. From the moment of William's advent, the names of the Normans began to prevail. He brought in Bible names, Saint names and his own Teutonic names. The old English names bowed to them and disappeared. A curious result followed. From the year 1150 to 1550, there was a much smaller dictionary of English personal names than had been for 400 years before and than there has been in the 400 years since. The Norman list was a small one and yet it took possession of the whole of England. As a consequence of this was this Pet- name epoch. In every community of one hundred Englishmen about the year 1300 there would be an average of twenty Johns, fifteen Williams, then would follow Thomas, Bartholomew, Nicholas, Phillip, Simon, Peter and Isaac from the scriptures, and Richard, Robert, Walter, Henry, Guy, Roger and Baldwin from the Teutonic list." It was, of course, impossible for English men and women to maintain their individuality on these terms. Various methods to secure a personality arose. The surname was adopted and there were John Atte-wood, John the Millwright, John the Bigg and John Richard's-son in every community. Among the middle and lower classes these did not become hereditary until so late as 1450 or 1500. There might be two or three Johns in the same family. So late as 1545 the will of John Parnell de Gyrton runs: Alice my wife and Old John my son to occupy my farm together, till Old John marries; young John, my son, shall have Brinlay's land, plowed and sowed at Old John's cost. If the same family had but one name for the household, we may imagine the difficulty when this one name was also popular through the village. The difficulty was naturally solved by firstly, the adoption of nick forms, secondly the addition of pet disinences. Thus Emma became Emm or Emmot and any number of boys might be entered in the register as Bartholomew and yet preserve their individuality in work day life by bearing such names aa Bat, Bate, Batty, Bartle, Bartelot, Batcock, Batkin and Tolly or Tholy. None would think of describing Wat Tyler's insurrection as Gowen does. " Watte vocat, cui Thoma venit, neque Symme retardet, Bat que Gibbe simul, Hykke venire subent; Colle furit, quem Bobbe juvat, nocumenta parantes Cum quibus, ad damnum Wille covie volat- Grigge rapit, dum Davie strepit, comea est quibus Hobbe Larkin et in medio non minor esse putat: Hudde ferit, quem Judde terit, dum Tibbe juvatur
Jacke domosque viros volit, en ense necat." Wat cries, Tom flies, nor Symkin stays aside:And Batt and Gibb and Hyke, they summon loud Collin and Bob combustibles provide; While Will the mischief forwards in the crowd. Greg hawls, Hob bawls and Davie joins the cry. With Larkin not the least among the throng. Hodge drubs, Judd scrubs while Tibb stands grinning by And Jack with sword and fire brand madly strides along. "The names in order are - Walter, Thomas, Simon, Bartholomew, Gilbert, Isaac, Nicholas, Robert, William, Gregory,  David, Robert (2) Lawrence, Hugh, Jordan (or George) Theobald and John."

About the year 1300 nearly one third of Englishmen were known by the name of William or John- it will be seen that the pet name and nick form were necessities. Will, Willot, Wilmot, Wilkin Wilcock. John, Jack, Jenning, Jenkin, Jacox, Micklejohn, Littlejohn or Properjohn. Pet forms, Kin, relationship, thence family or offspring, child or young one - mankin, kinderkin, pipkin, lambkin, jerkin, minikin, doitkin - appended to baptismal names it became very familiar. 'Masses and Matins He kepeth they nought For Wilekin and Watekyn Be in their thout' To furnish a list of English names ending in kin would be impossible. The great favorites were Hopkin (Robert), Lampkin, Lambkin (Lambert) Larkin (Lawrence), Tonkin, (Anthony), Dickin, Stepkin (Stephen), Dawkin (David), Atkin (Adam), Jeffkin (Jeffrey), Potkin, (Phillip), Simkin, Tipkin (Theobald), Timkin, Wilkin, Watkin (Walter), Jenkyn, Silkyn (Sybil), Malkyn (Mary), Perkin (Peter), Hankin (Hans), Halkin or Hawkin (Henry) etc." H. A. Long in his book "The Names we Bear" published in Boston, 1875, mentions Lawrence: "crowned with laurel." Heraldry gives us some light on the early history of the family both before and after its advent in America. The Larkin arms in practically all cases bore three leopards faces on the shield and a crest with a lark holding a sprig of columbine in its beak. In most cases the shield was marked with ermine. In one case the shield shows three shells or escallops as well as the leopards faces indicating possibly that some member of the family had been a 'palmer' or pilgrim to the Holy Land. In two cases the arms bear on the chief a lion passant guardant. The mottos used in two cases are Surget Alauda and Fidelis et Constans. The arms of Francis Roper Larkin furnish one of the most interesting and beautiful examples of all those recorded. The details of some of the grants of arms to Larkins by the College of Heralds are as follows:-Thomas Larkin, M.D. of Cambridge, England about 1600. Ermine, three leopard's faces sable. See "The Genealogist" of 1878. Pedigree of the Ashton Family.

Thomas Larkin, Doctor of Physic, about 1600. Ermine, three leopard's faces or, on a chief gules a lion passant guardant of the second. Crest a lark, wings addorsed ppr, in the beak a pansy flower ppr wlipped and leaves vert. See "The Genealogist" 1904, Grants of Arms.Thomas Larkyn of Frynsbury, Kent about 1619. Ermine, three leopards faces sable, crest a lark endorsed ppr. holding in beak a columbine, leaved or, flowered azure. See Cambridgeshire Visitation by Henry St. George. This Thomas Larkyn was father of Thomas Larkin "Doctor of Physic" and reader of the "Q' ma'ties", 'lector of phissick' in the University of Cambridge. John Larkin, Gent., son of John Larkin late of Aldersgate, London E.C.. Per fesse nebuly erminois and gules, a pale countercharged, three leopard's faces, two and one ppr and as many escallops one and two of the first. Mantling gules a nd or. Crest a wreath of the colors, in front of a rock an escallop, thereon a lark ppr holding in the beak two ears of wheat or. Motto, Fidelis et Constans. See Fox Davis Armorial Families.Lambert Blackwell Larking, Gent. Translator of the Doomsday Book of Kent. From the History of Kent by Hasted. Ermine, three leopard's faces ppr. Crest a lark rising with a spring in its beak, all ppr. Motto, Vouloir, pouvoir. Francis Roper Larkin, Gent., third son of Rev. Edmund Roberts Larkin, Rector of Bruton by Lincoln. Per pale ermine and erminois, three leopard's faces ppr, on a chief engrailed azure a lion passant guardant argent. Crest, on a wreath of the colours upon a mount in front of three ears of barley stalked and leaved, a lark holding in the beak a columbine, all ppr. Motto. Surget Alauda. Thomas G. Larkin of London writes Mar. 20, 1912, "Evidently the connection between the Roper and Larkin families goes back many generations or centuries: there is a will at Somerset House, Vol. I of the Rochester Calendars dated 1445 of one Roper Larkin of Ffrendsbury, Kent. A Harlean Pedigree manuscript gives Thomas Lorkin also Larkyn and his son as Larkin, all of Frindsbury. The family lived there as late as 1650 and there are many wills, from 1445 onwards, of Larkins of this place. in the Rochester Calendars; moreover Larkin Hall, Frindsbury, Rochester stands today and is inhabited by Charles Manners Sutton."

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Revised: 01 Oct 2018 15:37:18.

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