This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and can be either a locational surname from some "lost" place, or a topographical name for someone who lived by a "cock croft", an enclosure where poultry was raised. The name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "cocc", cock, with "croft", paddock, small holding. Topographical names were among the first created, since natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily identifiable distinguishing surnames in small medieval communities. As a locational surname, Cockcroft or Cockroft may derive from a place named with the same elements as the topographical name, which has now disappeared. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets in England are known to have been lost since the 12th Century. The marriage of James Cockroft and Anne Herbert was recorded at St. Pancras, Old Church, London, on May 19th 1698. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Cocckecroft, which was dated 1296, in the "Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield", Yorkshire, 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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