The surname Pollock, or Pollok, is of territorial origin. It was taken by Peter, eldest son of Fulbert, or Fulburt, who was given a grant of Upper Pollock in Renfrewshire, and went on to take his name from the lands. The lands were given to him sometime between 1150 and 1153, during the reign of David I, by Walter fitz Alan (d. 1177), the 1st High Steward of Scotland, as a thanks for his father’s service to Scotland, particularly at the Battle of the Standard in 1138.
Pollock is one of the oldest recorded surnames in Scotland.
The church of Pulloc was given as a gift to the monastery at Paisley, from Peter between 1177 and 1199, though other sources have suggested that this happened in 1163. This gift was confirmed by Jocelyn, the bishop of Glasgow. During the former dates (1177-99), Peter, at some point, was witness to a charter of his brother Helias, or Helyas, of Perthic (now Partick) to their house.
Peter de Pollok, or Pulloc, also owned lands in the north, in Moray, and was witness to a charter by King William, granting the lands of Burgin (now Burgie) to Kinlos Abbey, circa 1172-1178. Peter also appears witness to three other charters by William the Lion in the same chartulary between 1187 and 1199.
Peter’s brother, Robert also appears as a charter witness on a number of occassions in a 34 year period between 1165 and 1199. However, at no point is the name Pollock ever attached to him.
In or around 1200, Robert and Peter both appear as witnesses to another charter, and Peter is referred to simply as “Petrus fratre ejusdem”.
Peter de Polloc’s daughter, Muriel, lady of Rothes, was married to Walter Morthach, in 1220 probably, and they had a daughter together called Eva Morthach, lady of Rothes.
The land of Inuerorkel was gifted, by Muriel de Polloc sometime between 1224 and 1242, to the house or hospital that was built beside the bridge of Spe (Spey) for the reception of travellers.
Muriel de Rothes’ gift of the church of Rothes to the church of Moray around 1235 was later confirmed in 1242, or perhaps earlier, by her daughter, Eva Morthach, domina de Rothes. Some of the witnesses to the confirmation include Robert de Pollok and his son Adam.
In 1234, a document convcerning the lands of Cnoc in Renfrewshire was witnessed by Thomas de Polloc.
Sometime during the reign of Alexander II, Robert de Polloc, son of Robert, and grandson of Fulbert, started to pay the monastery in Paisley twelve pennies annually from the rents of his lands, and in return expected the spiritual benefits that came from the pious execises of the Cluniac Order.
Both Peres de Pollok of Lanarkshire and Johan Pollok of Forfarshire paid allegiance to Edward I of England by putting their names to the Ragman Roll in 1296.
The steward of Arbroath Abbey in 1299, John Pollok, is the same person as the John de Pollok who was sheriff of Forfar, and who was sent from Aberdeen, along with others, to Montrose to arrest a vessel of the bishop of Aberdeen and bring her back to the city.
In 1453, Scottish merchant, John Pulloc, was given safe conduct to travel through England.
The principal line of the de Polluc family disappeared in the War of Succession, “an era of remarkable changes of families and property”.
On Pont’s map of Renfrewshire, the place name is spelled Pook, and in common speech, that is how it is pronounced.
In Aberdeen, in 1549, Nile Pook was servitor to the bishop.
At the Battle of Langside on 13th May, 1568, just a few miles from Pollock Castle, John Pollock of Pollock fought on the losing side of Mary I, and inturn, lost some of his lands.
In the United States, the name changed to Polk, and the eleventh president of the US, James Knox Polk was the great-great grandson of Robert Polk, or Pollok, who emigrated to the American colonies from Ayrshire.
Pollock Clan History