Recorded as Meadowcroft, Meaddowcroft and sometimes Meadowcraft, this is an ancient English locational surname. According to the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley, writing in the year 1880, it originates from a former hamlet called Meadowcroft in the parish of Middleton, near the city of Manchester. If this is so, then the place itself seems to have completely disappeared, or more likely has been absorbed by urban growth, and is no longer recorded as an individual place in its own right. That it did once exist is shown by the recording of John de Radcliff, who in the 16th year (1396) of the reign of King Richard 11nd (1377 - 1399), was born at 'Medecroft', whilst Ricardus de Meducroft appears even earlier in the Poll Tax records of the city of York, in 1379. Later recordings include that Isabella.Birch of Meadowcroft, in the Wills Registry at Chester, in 1615, and Francis Meadowcroft of Ratcliffe, Lancashire in 1616. The place name means 'The farm surrounded by meadows'. A meadow in past times being a place which was flooded during winter, but provided summer grazing for cattle. The very first recording of the surname in any form may be that of Nicholas de Meducroft in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Lancashire in the 20th year (1292) of the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307.
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