This interesting surname is of English locational origin from the district of Craven in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The placename is recorded as "Crave" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and probably derives from the Welsh "craf" meaning garlic. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below), and Agnes de Craven and Johannes de Craven, appear in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire, dated 1372). One of the earliest settlers in the New World was Richard Craven, who received 150 acres of land by patent, at Blunt Pointe, Virginia, in 1626. A Coat of Arms granted to the Craven family depicts a red fesse (horizontal stripe) between six red cross crosslets fitchee on a silver shield, the Crest being an ermine griffin with wings addorsed, beaked and foremembered gold, on a red chapeau turned up ermine. The Motto, "Virtus in actione consistit", translates as "Virtue consists in action". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Paulinus de Cravene, which was dated 1284, recorded as a Freeman of 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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