This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from Oscroft, a village east of Chester in Cheshire, or from Oxcroft, a hamlet situated east of Chesterfield in Derbyshire. The second element of the name in both cases is the Olde English pre 7th Century "croft", a piece of enclosed land used for tillage or pasture, a small piece of arable land adjacent to a house. The initial element may be either a short form of an Olde English compound personal name such as "Oswin" meaning "God (os) - friend (win)", or the Olde English "oxa", ox; hence, "Os(win's) croft" or "croft where oxen were kept". Oxspring in the West Riding of Yorkshire, was initially recorded as "Ospring" in the Domesday Book of 1086, showing the interchange of the "x" and "s". Locational surnames were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. On November 22nd 1624, Jane Oscroft and Henry Waynewright were married in Ormskirk, Lancashire, and on August 24th 1630, Margretta Oscroft married a Thomas Lee at Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Oxcroft, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire", 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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