This picturesque surname is of medieval English origin and is a topographical name for a dweller at the enclosure frequented by magpies. The derivation is from the Middle English 'pie', or 'pye', a development of the Old English pre 7th Century 'pie', and the Latin 'pica', a magpie, with the Old English pre 7th Century 'croft', an enclosure. The modern English bird name, not recorded before the 17th Century, actually derives from an earlier dialectal term, 'maggot-pie', formed by the addition of a pet form of the female given name Margaret. Topographical names are some of the earliest to be created as topographical features, both natural and manmade, provided obvious and convenient means of identification. One Richard Pyecroft is recorded at Moston, Manchester circa 1570, and John Pycroft, a linen webster, of Manchester, is recorded in the Wills of Chester in 1590. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Pycroft, which was dated May 22nd 1525, Coroners Inquests of Nottinghamshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, 'Good King Hal', 1509 - 1547. 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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