The name of Pollock (Pollok) is among the oldest family names in Scotland. The surname was adopted from the ancient lands of Pollock in Renfrewshire. Records of the 12th century reveal these lands were held by the sons of Fulbert, progenitor of the Pollocks of Scotland. Fulbert's son. Petrus, who inherited the lands of Pollock from his father in 1163, was the first person to use Pollock as a surname. One surviving document charters the lands to Petrus through Walter Fitz-Alan, High Steward of Scotland and the progenitor of the Royal Stewart line. The lands then passed to Robertus, brother of Petrus, when Petrus had no male heir.
The main line of Pollock descent is from Robertus, who was a witness to the founding of Paisley Abbey in 1160, being described as "Roberto filio Fulberti." Between 1189 and 1199 he granted the Church of Mearns to the Monastery of Paisley. The original church building no longer stands. The location for the present church of Mearns is at the intersection of Eaglesham Road and Mearns Road. Many prominent Pollocks are buried in the adjoining cemetery and within the walls of the church.
The lands were divided into Upper and Lower Pollock. The Pollocks retained upper Pollock while Lower Pollock was chartered to the Maxwell's. The Maxwell's of Pollock became a prominent branch of that powerful border clan. A common alliance was formed between the Maxwell's and the Pollocks. Marriages took place between members of the two families. Today, Pollocks continue to be recognized as septs of Clan Maxwell and may correctly wear the Maxwell tartan.
The lineage of the family of Pollock-of-that-Ilk in Scotland was recorded by George Crawfurd in his "General Description of the Shire of Renfrew, Including an Account of the Noble and Ancient Families", first published in 1710.
John Pollok, Of That Ilk, as town Baillie, signed the Charter of St. Andrews University in 1453, the oldest university in Scotland. Fourteenth in descent from Fulbert was John Pollock of Pollock. He fought on the side of Mary's forces at Langside, only a few miles from Pollock Castle, ended her reign in Scotland. For his role in her losing cause, John Pollock forfeited some of his lands. On 30 November 1703, Sir Robert Pollock-of-that-Ilk was knighted and made Baronet of Nova Scotia by Queen Anne for his services to the crown, with a "recital of the antiquity and flourishing condition of the ancient family of Pollock-of that-Ilk, for 600 years". Other notable Pollocks in Great Britain were The Rt.. Hon. Sir Jonathan Frederick Pollock, Bart., Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer; Field Marshall Sir David Pollock, Bart., Lord Chief Justice of Bombay; Sir Frederick Pollock, Bart., famous barrister and codifier of English Law; Robert Pollock. Scholar and author of the once widely read epic poem "The Course of Time" and John Pollock, official biographer of The Reverend Billy Graham and author of many books, including "The Apostle" and "The Master."
With the passage of time, changes occurred to the Pollock surname. For some descendants of Scottish, Pollock became Polk and Pogue, spelled in various ways. Capt. Robert Bruce Pollok emigrated from Donegal Ireland to Maryland around 1680 and was the progenitor of a great number of persons now using the name Polk and Pollock. Prominent among his American descendants were James K. Polk, 11th President of the United states, General Leonidas Polk of Civil War fame, and Colonel Thomas Polk of charlotte, North Carolina, who convened that meeting at which Mecklenburg County, North Carolina declared it's independence from England in may 1775, a year ahead of the Philadelphia Convention. Governor Charles Polk of Delaware and Governor and Senator Thrusten Polk of Missouri also belonged to this family. Other notable Pollocks were James Pollock, an early Governor of Pennsylvania; Thomas Pollock, born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1654, and who died in 1722 while serving as acting governor of the Colony of North Carolina, and Oliver Pollock, from Colerain Ireland, who settled in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and is credited as the "financier of the American Revolution in the West" during the Revolutionary War.
Today there is no Pollock of that Ilk recognized as the hereditary chief of the clan. The last Pollock chief recognized by the Crown was in 1845. The clan badge portrays a boar pierced by an arrow and the motto Audacter et Strenue, Boldly and Strongly. In 1980, Clan Pollock adopted its own tartan and registered it with the Scottish Tartan Society in Scotland. Pollock Castle, in its last configuration, was a magnificent structure. Built in the style of a British manor house, the castle was demolished in 1954 and the lands were sold. For the first time in eight centuries the lands of Upper Pollock were no longer Pollock lands.
Nothing of the old Pollock estate remains except the two gate houses, the stable, and the gardener's cottage (all are presently occupied), the castle stone foundation, the south entrance steps and a few stones that once formed the castle's massive walls. One of those stones, cut and polished, is imbeded in the Scottish Memorial Cairn in North Carolina. The cairn was dedicated in 1980 at the site of the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, near Linville, North Carolina.
If you would like more information about Clan Pollock International or have other questions, please email A.D. Pollock, Jr.