This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has a number of possible sources. Firstly, the surname may be a nickname for a smart, cunning person, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "craeft", craft, skill. The surname may also be a topographical name for someone who lived by a "croft", an arable enclosure usually adjacent to a house, from the Olde English "croft", croft, piece of enclosed land used for tillage or pasture. There are several places in England named with this word, and the surname may equally be a locational name from any of them, or from "Croft" in Leicestershire. Croft was recorded as "Craeft" in the Saxon Chartulary (836), and as "Crebre" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and derives from the Olde English "craeft", craft, a machine, engine (a wind-mill or water-mill may be referred to). The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below), and can also be found as Croft, Crofts, Crafts, Cruft and Crufts. Roger de Craft is noted in the Curia Regis Rolls of Warwickshire (1213). On February 20th 1557, John, son of Davy Craft, was christened at St. Martin Ludgate, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aluric Craft, which was dated 1185, in the "Records of the Templars in Essex", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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