This name is prominent in Scottish history. It began when Peter, son of Fulbert (or Fulburt), received a grant of Upper Pollock in Renfrewshire from Walter the High Steward. The Upper Pollock land holdings were part of the extensive lands given Walter by King David I. The High Steward granted the upper part of his holdings to Peter, who was one of his followers. Peter then took his name, Peter de Polloc, from those holdings and passed it on to his descendants.
Peters family remained vassals of the Steward, who was the superior of Upper Pollok. That superiority was later acquired by Rolland de Mearns along with the barony of Mearns and, later, by the Maxwells of Caerlaverock on their succeeding Rolland. The Polloks of Upper Pollok thus became vassals of the Maxwells as Lords of Mearns, a vassalage which continued until the 17th Century.
The lower division of Pollok, commonly called Nether Pollok, was given by Sir Aymer Maxwell (of Maxwell, Caerlaverock, and Mearns) to his younger son, Sir John Maxwell. Johns territorial designation thenceforth became of Pollok, or of Nether Pollok.
The lands of Darnley formed a separate estate for many years which intersected the upper and lower divisions of Pollok. This separate estate of a younger branch of the Steward family, ancestors of the unfortunate husband of Queen Mary, was acquired by the Maxwells of Pollok about the middle of the 18th Century and thereafter was part of Pollok.
The superiority of Upper Pollok was acquired by Robert Pollok from Robert Maxwell, the second Earl of Nithsdale, about 1650, and the lands of Nether Pollok were disjoined from the barony of Mearns in 1672 by King Charles II. Those lands were erected into the separate barony of Pollok.
The name has become Polk in the United States, and the family has produced one American President: James Knox Polk. A Tennessean, Polk was the great-great-grandson of Robert Polk (or Pollok) who emigrated from Ayrshire to the American Colonies.
For more information, visit the Clan Pollock web site.
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