STARK, a surname, meaning
strong, said to have been first borne by one of the name of Muirhead,
for his having rescued King James IV. from a bull in the forest of
Cumbernauld. From his strength he was called Stark (Nisbet’s Heraldry,
vol. i. p. 340). IN Fifeshire were the Starks of Kingsdale, and the
Starks of Teasses, and in Kinross-shire the Starks of Bridgeland.
The name STARKE in
Scotland is originally the same. James Starke of Troqueer Holm, in the
stewartry of Kirkcudbright, passed advocate at the Scottish bar in 1824.
A member of the society of Antiquaries, Scotland, in 1835 he presented
to that society, ‘Observations on the Justiciary Court, with a continued
series of the Justiciars and Justices General,’ and in 1836 delivered a
course of lectures on Jurisprudence before the members of the Edinburgh
Philosophical Association. In 1839 he was appointed her Majesty’s
advocate – general of the island of Ceylon, in which capacity he was
also a member of the executive and legislative councils of the island.
He was afterwards raised to the bench of the supreme court there. He is
the author of a ‘Treatise on the Law of Partnership,’ and several other
works on law. He was a contributor to that useful work the Penny
cyclopedia, and also to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Scottish
Christian Herald, the Christian Instructor, the Law Chronicle, and other
literary and legal undertakings of his time. When in Ceylon he was
mainly instrumental in originating and organizing the Ceylon branch of
the Royal Asiatic Society, of which he was elected president, and as one
of its members contributed several valuable papers. He married the
eldest daughter of Major James Gibson, and grand-daughter of Major
Thomas Hamilton, Royal Irish dragoons, only son and heir of Thomas
Hamilton, Esq. of Olivestob, who in early life went out as lieutenant of
marines on board the Wager man-of-war in Lord Anson’s expedition to the
South Seas; issue, 2 sons, James Gibson Starke, born 1837, M.A. 1859;
William Starke, born 1839, captain 15th foot.