This interesting surname recorded in the spellings of Roscoe, Roscow and Ruscoe, is of Norse- Viking pre 8th century origins. It is locational name from a "lost" medieval village in the county of Lancashire, and as such is one of a group of some five thousand surnames which originate from totally lost sites. The translation is the "the deer enclosure", from the Old Norse "ra", meaning roebuck, and "scogr", a copse or thicket. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname first appears on record towards the end of the 13th Century, and is widely recorded in Lancashire Church Registers from the mid 16th Century. Examples include Hugh Roscoe and Margreta Morton, who were married in Eccles in 1560, and their daughter Margaret, christened at Standish in 1565. James Roscoe, of Farnsworth, was entered in Wills Records at Chester in 1594, whilst Jame Ruscoe in the unusual dialectal spelling, was married to John Pollett at Flixtron, on July 12th 1658. A notable bearer of the name was William Roscoe (1753 - 1831), an attorney of the court of the King's Bench in 1774. He subsequently devoted himself to literary studies and produced such works as the "Life of Lorenzo de Medici", 1795, and "The Butterfly's Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast", now a children's classic. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Roscoe, of Euxton, Lancashire, which was dated 1293, in the "Wills Records at Chester", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307.
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