This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name for someone who lived by a cross. The derivation of the name is from the Middle English "crouch", a cross, itself from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cruc". This word was replaced in Middle English by the Old Norse form "cross". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. William Attecruche is noted in the 1290 Assize Court Rolls of Essex, and Thomas Crouch is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex (1329). In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Crouch, Crowch, Crotch and Crutch. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Nicholas Crowche and Elsabeth Gylb on January 18th 1539, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and the marriage of Richard Crowch and Agnes Read on May 1st 1561, at St. Mary's, Harrow on the Hill. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was Humphrey Crouch (1635 - 1671), who was a ballad writer whose works include such poems and ballads as "Love's Court of Conscience", and "The Welch Traveller". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Cruche, which was dated 1221, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Devonshire", 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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