This interesting surname, of Old Norse or Anglo-Saxon origin, is a locational name from either of two places in Northern Yorkshire, one called Crakehall and the other Crakehill, both deriving from the Old Norse "kraka" meaning "crow", or the Olde English pre 7th Century "craca", crake (the bird), plus the Olde English "halh" recess; hence, "recess frequented by crows or water-crakes". The placenames are recorded as "Crachele" and "Cracala" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below). Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Cracknall and Craknell. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Lyonell Cracknell and Johane Downe on April 2nd 1519, at St. Michael's, Cornhill; the marriage of Edward Crakenell and Winifred Browne at St. Mary Mounthaw, on December 6th 1607; and the marriage of William Cracknell and Francess Jones on May 8th 1716. Charles, son of Charles and Ann Cracknel, was christened at Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, on January 15th 1766. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elias de Crackenhal, which was dated 1220, in the "Kings Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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