This rare and interesting name is of medieval English origin and is a dialectal variant of either of two locational names, Cranleigh in Surrey or Cranoe in Leicestershire. Cranleigh is first recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1166 as 'Cranlea' and in 1167 as 'Cranelega' and is derived from the Old English pre 7th Century 'cran', a crane, with 'leah', a grove, whilst Cranoe, first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, appears as 'Craweho', and in the Pipe Rolls of 1198 as 'Crawenho' derived from the Old English 'crawe', with 'hoh', a ridge or headland (frequented by crows). Amongst the recordings in London is the christening of Philidelpha Cranney on January 8th 1692 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and in Leicestershire of Edward Cranney on March 19th 1721 at Quordon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godfrey Crany, which was dated February 1st 1621, St. Martin-Vintry, London, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603-1621. 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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