This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a from a topographical name which has two possible meanings. It is generally accepted as deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "eald", old, and "croft", farm; hence, "dweller at the old farm". However, it is also possible that some nameholders may originate from the Olde English "alor", Alder (tree), and "cote", farm; hence, "dweller at the farm amongst the Alder trees". Topographical surnames, such as this, were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname has a wide range of alternative spellings, these include: Margrett Alcroft, who married Samuel Woodrobe at the Church of St. Christopher le Stocks, London, on December 26th 1650, in the "reign" of Oliver Cromwell, and Theodorus Allcraft, who was a witness at his son, Robert's, christening on April 24th 1715, at St. Mary Whitechapel, also in London. The name is also recorded as Holdcroft, a dialectal transposition of northern origins. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Aldecote, which was dated 1277, in the "Pipe Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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