and Their People
Before I launch into the history of our surname, I would like to advise everyone that, for the lines tested, we have been able to prove (through DNA testing) that all descendents of Joseph Cracraft (b. ca 1700) and John and Ann Craycroft all descend from the English Cracroft family line.
The surnames tested in our DNA project are: Cracraft, Craycraft ,Craycroft and Cracroft (an England volunteer). These lines include: Joseph2 (m. Margaret Bowel and Eunice Dawson); William (md. Sarah Bowel); Samuel (m. Elizabeth Unknown); John Creacroft or Craycroft (Cracroft) (m. Ann). John and Ann arrived here ca 1665 from Lincolnshire, England and settled in MD. John's genealogy can be found in Sister Mary Louise Donnelly's book: "The Craycrofts of Maryland and Kentucky Ken". The England family genealogy can be found in Burke's Landed Gentry. Joseph's children can be found in "The History of the PanHandle, West Virginia" by J.H.Newton and in the Draper Manuscripts.
The DNA report can be found on my Family Tree Maker website under "Related Files" section at: Dan L. Craycraft Homepage on FTM
THE CRACROFT NAME
The family name of Cracroft is listed in Bardsley's The Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (published 1910) as follows: “Cracroft, Craycraft.--Local. Of Cracroft”. “The family were lords of the manor of Cracroft, co. Lincoln, in 1284": Lower (quoting Burke's Landed Gentry). With the form Cracraft infra, cf. Craft for Croft, and Meadowcraft for Meadowcroft. This surname has crossed the Atlantic as Craycroft”
1638-9. John and Magdalen Hambleton: Marriage Lic. (London), ii. 240.
Based upon research in the Family Tree Maker “World Family Tree” database, the following spellings for Cracroft were found: Craychoft, Craycroft, Craycraf, Craycrafft, Craycrofte, Cracroff and Craycrafter. In the United States, the following variations have been found in the Social Security Registry and other sources: Cracraft, Cracroft, Craycraft, Craycroft, Creacraft, Crecraft and Craycrap! It is assumed that these are all variations of the original family name of Cracroft.
The Cracroft Manor exists today in Hackthorn, England and is located in Lincolnshire . It is still owned by the Cracroft family quoted in Bardsley. They can trace their genealogy back to the first recorded occurance of the Cracroft name (Walter ca. 1200). This may be the 1284 Cracroft referred to by Bardsley. There was an earlier home of the Cracrofts in Hogsthorpe.
This story is about the Cracroft's of Hackthorn and Hogsthorpe and their American descendants. The villages of Hackthorn and Hogsthorpe are located in the county of Lincolnshire, England and existed during the time of William the Conqueror and are listed in the Doomsday Book (1142).
THE CRACROFT PEOPLE
The Cracrofts of Hogsthorpe and Hackthorn were “landed gentry”. To own land i.e. 'landed gentry') was only the privilege of a very small group of people. The term “gentl” meant of gentle birth or born into nobility. These gentlemen” later became the knights of England. All others were considered common” and had few if any rights. They looked to the Lord of the Manor to settle all disputes and for their livelihood.
The gentlemen, in the late 1200's displayed Arms. Later the term became known as a Coat of Arms. They were called upon by the King to provide men and arms during times of war and conflict. The Cracroft arms (for Sir Weston Cracroft-Amcotts) is listed in the 1965 edition of Burke's Landed Gentry as: "Vert, on a bend dancettee, three martlets sa.” The crest is listed as “a stork ppr., supporting with dexter claw a battle-ax the handle or, the head arg.”. When translated, the arms are: divided diagonally green and red; on a gold diagonal band dancettee (stepped), three ravens.
A word of further explanation may be helpful at this time concerning the arms and crest. I have discussed the subject of arms. However, each family that had arms may have also had a crest. The crest is always depicted resting on top of the shield. In Sir Weston Cracrofts case, The Stork Proud. It was the custom in England, when two families of Arms inter-married, to join the two Coat of Arms. This was called “quartering the arms” and can be seen in the stained glass windows of the Cracroft family church (St. Michael's) and in Burke's Landed Gentry for Sir Weston Cracroft-Amcotts. The coat of arms and crest of this Cracroft family is quartered with the arms and crest of the Amcotts (a squirrel). The Amcotts will be discussed later. The quartered arms for Sir Weston is for his family and direct proven descendants.
I digressed on the subject of arms and it is too complicated to discuss here. I will return to the story of the early Cracrofts.
The two main areas of England for the Cracrofts, as I stated earlier, were: Hogshorpe and later Hackthorn. The earliest known estate of the Cracrofts was Hogsthorpe. Hogsthorpe is on the east coast several miles north of Skegness and due west of Chapel St. Leonards. It is also due east of Hackthorn. It can be seen in the genealogy of the Cracrofts that Hogstorpe was their earlier area of residence. This can be found in the genealogy of the Cracrofts in the Lincolnshire Pedigrees, edited by Rev. Canon Maddison and published by the Harleian Society-London, 1902 and Burke's Landed Gentry.
Hackthorn is located in “Parts of Lindsey” (Aslacoe (East) Wappentake). The population in 1801 was 218 and in 1901 was 258. The acreage was 2,748. This information was obtained from the Victoria History of the Counties of England. Hackthorn is located due north of the city of Lincoln off the A15 highway. Unfortunately, the village of Hackthorn is located in direct line with the Scampton Air Force base runway. This base was very important during World War II.
In this genealogy, Canon Maddison lists Stephen (ca 1200-1300), son of Walter-the first known use of the surname Cracroft, as living in Hogsthorpe. All subsequent descendants from the 1200's (Walter) to the 1400's (Richard m. Elizabeth -----) are all listed as living in Hogsthorpe. Richard was the first son found not living in Hogsthorpe. He lived in Ingoldmelds, near Hogsthorpe. The first Cracroft shown as living in Hackthorn is John (m. Elizabeth Beverly) who inherited the Cracroft Manor from his uncle, Robert Grantham in 1616.
To digress briefly, it should be understood that the use of surnames did not come about until about the 1200's. It should therefore not be surprising to find that the father of the first Cracroft, Humphrey Fitz Walter, did not have a surname. His son, Walter de Cracroft, was the first known use of our surname. This would have been around the early 1100's.
In 1995, an English Cracroft researcher (Patrick Cracroft-Brennan) provided me with additional ancestry of the Cracrofts. His reseach indicated that Ragemar (ca 1050) was the father of Walter Fitz Ragemar (ca 1115) who was the father of Humphrey Fitz Walter and he was the father of “Walter De Cracroft (Lord of the Manor of Cracroft, in parish of Hoggesthorpe, Lincs.)”. This was around 1202. To quote this researcher further: “Ragemar, Lord of Welle, Claxby, Withern, etc. in the County of Lincoln; recorded in the Doomsday Book as holding his lands in 1086 by knight service from Gilbert de Gant I, Lord of Folkingham and Bridlington; married and had with other issue.”.
It is with Walter De Cracroft that Burke's Landed Gentry and Canon Maddison's Lincolnshire Pedigrees begins the Cracroft genealogy.
The preceeding was a brief overview of the Cracrofts of England. I hope it gave you a feeling for our early ancestors.
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