Recorded in the spellings of O'Crotty, Crotty, and Crottagh, this is an Irish surname of some considerable antiquity. It originates from the pre 10th century Gaelic word 'cruth' and in the context of a surname may translate as 'being in the image of the father'. This may not have referred to a natural father, but could have had religious significance in implying that the original nameholder(s) were associated with the church, or that "The father" was the chief of the clan. It is also claimed that the O' Crottys were formerly a branch of the famous Clan O'Brien of Thomond, and hereditary kings of Ireland. The Crotty's, the O' was lost in medieval times, were first recorded in the area of West Waterford and East Cork in the 1659 Census of Ireland, and given as being numerous in the baronies of Coshmore and Decies. The name had some notoriety in the 18th century, and it could be claimed that the most famous nameholder was the highwayman William Crotty. He was regarded by some as a sort of Robin Hood figure, although history suggests that this was not so. He eventually went the way of all highwayman, being hanged at Cork in 1742. Rather less contentious was the life of Bartholomew Crotty, also originally of Cork. He was appointed as the rector of the Jesuit College of Lisbon in 1790, and in 1827 to the bishopric of Cloyne and Ross. He died in 1846 having seen the Roman Catholic religion well established again in Ireland.
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