This interesting surname is of mixed Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a Lancastrian topographical name from residence near a croft with a hut. The derivation is from the Old Norse "skali", shed, hut, with the Olde English pre 7th Century "croft", a piece of enclosed land, or a small piece of arable land adjacent to a house. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The initial element "skali" appears as "scale" and "sc(h)ole" in Middle English, and recordings of the surname from 16th Century Church Registers of Lancashire show the influence of this change. They include: Scholcroft, Schoolcroft, Scocroft, Skocroft, and Scowcraft. On September 20th 1561, Wyllyam Skocroft and Elyzabeth Key were married at St. Mary's, Radcliffe, and on December 13th 1572 Alice, daughter of James Scowcroft, was christened in Kirkham. The marriage of Richard Scowcroft to Ellin Booth took place at St. Mary's, Bury, Lancashire, on May 5th 1737. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Schalecroft, which was dated 1246, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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