This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a peculiarly Devonshire variant of the topographical surname found elsewhere in England as "Clough". The surname denoted someone who lived near a precipitous slope, in a ravine or steep-sided valley, and is derived from the Old English pre 7th Century word "Cloh", ravine, steep valley. The development of the surname includes Roster Clough (1279, Oxfordshire), John del Clogh, (1298, Yorkshire), Richard Cluff (1428, Staffordshire), and in Devonshire, Robert Cloake (1597), Mary Cloak (1685), and Thomas Clooke (1689). The Scottish form of the name is "Cleugh", and the modern surname can be found as Clough, Cluff, Clow, Clew, Clue, and Clues or Clew(e)s. One Richard Cloke married Alicia Parre at Buckland Monachorum on the 13th June 1551. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Clowe, which was dated 1275, in the "Worcestershire Subsidy Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.

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