This most unusual and interesting surname is locational. It derives from a 'lost' medieval village, which according to the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley, lay in North West Devon. This may indeed be so as virtually all recordings in early times are found in the area which lies between Dartmoor to the South and Barnstaple in the North of the county. The translation of the name, which is recorded in many different spellings including Lillicrap, Lillecrap, Lillecrop, Lillicrop, Lilleycrop etc. is probably 'the hill-top (crop) covered by lilies', which given the natural of the area, would seem a logical explanation. Some five thousand villages have totally disappeared since the 12th century, when surnames were generally formed, and today the surname, in its various spellings is the only reminder of the existence of what may once have been a flourishing centre. Examples of the surname recording taken from authentic church registers includes Arthur Lillicrap of Okehampton, who was christened there on December 20th 1640, Peter Lillicrap, at St Benets church, Pauls Wharf, London, and Chrischan (!) Lillacrap, who married Valentine Norcott, at Hatherleigh, Devon, on March 21st 1756. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Christian Lillacrap, which was dated February 23rd 1566, who was christened at Black Torrington, Devon, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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