Recorded as Whistlecraft, Whistlecroft, Wislecraft, and no doubt others, this is one of the most unusual of all English surnames. It would seem to be locational and to originate from a place called 'Twisla croft' or similar, and meaning the small farm (croft) at the river fork (twisla). The original 'T' being lost by mis-spelling. The origin is pre 7th century Olde English, however there does not appear to be any place recorded in any of the known spellings in the gazetters of the past centuries, unless it be either the village of Twisley in Sussex or that of Twisell in Northumberland. Surnames from 'lost' places are a feature of the English surname listings. It is estimated that over three thousand surnames do originate from lost places of which the only public reminder in the late 20th centry is the surname itself, often in a myriad of spellings. Furthermore locational names are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original village to more somewhere else. There they were given as an easy means of identification the name of their former village. Spellling being at best indifferent and local accents very thick, lead to the adoption of 'sounds like' forms. The earliest known recording of this surname is believed to be that of Thomas Wyslylcroft. He appears in the Hearth Tax rolls of Suffolk, in 1524.
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