The Torkington Name

It was not until the Middle Ages that surnames were first introduced to distinguish between people bearing the same personal or christian name. With the growth in documentation necessitated by the expanding administrations of medieval rulers eager to replenish their exchequers by improving the tax collection system, surnames became essential. Generally, they fall into four categories: those of local, patryonymic, occupational, surname or nickname origin.

The surname Torkington is of local origin, being one of those surnames which is based on the place where a man once lived or where he held land. In this instance it means "of Torkington" and denotes one who came from this township in the parish of Stockport. The placename itself probably means "a settlement of Tork's people". The suffix "ton", from the Anglo-Saxon "tun" meaning "homestead", is a very common element in English surnames. Indeed, in 1673, Richard Vershigan wrote:

"In Foord, in Ham, in Ley, in Tun,
The most of English surnames run."
There are plenty of early references to the surname. One Simon de Torkington lived in East Cheshire in 1225. The prefix "de" means "from" and thus reinforces the local origin. French prefixes were commonly found in English surnames at this time due to the influence of French after the Normal Conquest of 1066. In later references the prefix has been dropped. For instance, the Parish Church records at Stockport refer to one Alexander Torkington who was buried in 1605. Other variants of the name are Talkington and Turkington.

Blazon of arms: Sable on a fess argent three leopards' heads ereased gules.

Crest: A spur-rowel between two wings or.

Origin: England.

Last modified by Nat