This is an early English locational surname, found chiefly in the north and north-western counties. Any of the various places called 'Moorcroft' in West Yorkshire, or the 'lost' place near Ormskirk in Lancashire that was called 'Morcroft', could be the original source for the modern surname. The placename means 'the marsh paddock', the derivation being from the Olde English pre 7th Century word 'mor', meaning marsh or fen, with 'croft', meaning paddock or small-holding. There are three forms of the modern surname, 'Moorcroft, Moorcraft and Morecraft'. William Moorcroft (1765 - 1825) was a veterinary surgeon and a great traveller. He was veterinary surgeon to the Bengal army in 1808, and travelled extensively in India between 1811 and 1825. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a silver ass, saddled, bridled and caparisoned red, between three gold marigolds, all on a black shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Morcroft, which was dated 1366, in the Lancashire Subsidy Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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