Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is surname which several possible origins and even nationalities. Firstly it may be English and a nickname for a smart, cunning person. This is from Olde English pre 7th century word "craeft", meaning skillful. Secondly the surname throughout the British Isles and Ireland may be a topographical name for someone who lived at a "croft", an arable enclosure usually adjacent to a house. This is from the Olde English word "croft", meaning a piece of enclosed land used for tillage or pasture, which would support a family of four. There are several places in England named with this word, and the surname may equally be a locational name from any of them. In Ireland the name may also be English, several setters of the name being noted in 1540, but it is also found although only rarely as McCroft, with Croft, Crofts, Crafts, Cruft and Crufts being the more usuall spellings. Roger de Craft is noted in the Curia Regis Rolls of Warwickshire in the year 1213, whilst on February 20th 1557, John Craft, was christened at St. Martin Ludgate, in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aluric Craft. This was dated 1185, in the cecords of the Knight Templars in the county of Essex, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, 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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