This distinguished surname, having no less than ten Coats of Arms, and with several entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", is of Old Welsh origin, and is a locational name from Crewe, south east of Chester in Cheshire, close to the Welsh marches. Recorded as "Crev" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Cruue" in the 1288 County Court Rolls of Chester, the place was so called from the Old Welsh "criu", weir (modern Welsh "cryw", weir, ford). The reference here is to a wickerwork fence that was stretched across the river Dee to catch fish.Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. On October 3rd 1542, Ninian Crewe, an infant, was christened at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London. Recordings of the surname from the Wills Records held at Chester include: Robert Crewe, of Wallasey (1608), and Urian Crewe, of Tushingham, yeoman (1697). Notable bearers of the name were Sir Randolph Crewe (1558 - 1646), barrister, Lincoln's Inn, 1584, and lord chief-justice of the king's bench, 1625, and also his grandson, Randolph Crewe, artist, who executed a map of Cheshire. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is an azure shield with a silver lion rampant, the Crest being a silver lion's gamb, armed gules, emerging from a gold ducal coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Crewe, which was dated December 30th 1539, witness at the christening of his son, Gilbert, at Nantwich, Cheshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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