This is a locational surname which derives from the Pennine Districts of Yorkshire, although with the occasional early Lancashire recording as well. There are various places mainly in the Calder Valley (Yorkshire) called Hardcastle Craggs, Cragg Bottom, and Cragg Vale, whilst in Lancashire Crag Hall is near to Lancaster, and there is a second Crag Hall, near Macclesfield. There is however no evidence that these latter two sites, which are effectively just large houses, have been the progenitors of surnames. "Cragg(es)" is of Norse-Viking origin, the development being from the Scandinavian "Kragg" and the name describes one who resided at such a place. Normally locational surnames developed when a person left their original village, the name being given as a form of identity at their new home. However a less rare origin is to be a descendant of the Lords of the Manor, and it would certainly appear that in this case the later "Cragg(es)" may well have this origin. Certainly the name is well recorded from the early 13th century, see below, although surprisingly the Coat of Arms was granted in London. The blazon is of Ermine, a black fess charged with three gold martlets, between two talbots (hounds) heads. Examples of the surname recording include Hudd del Crag in the Lancashire Assize rolls of 1260, Peter de Kragg and John Cragges in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire for the year 1301. Somewhat later registers show Aicia Craggs of Howden, Yorkshire on January 4th 1550, James Cragg of Dent, Yorkshire on January 1st 1611, and John Cragg, who married Mary Hilditch at St Matthews Church, Walsall, on March 4th 1718. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Crag, which was dated 1204, who was a witness at the York Assize Court, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland" 1199 - 1216. 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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