This name, with variant spellings Wol(l)stonecraft, Wolstoncraft, Wo(o)lstencroft, Wors(t)encroft, and Wosencroft, is of English locational origin from a place in Cheshire called Woolstencroft or from Wolstancroft in Lancashire. The name in both cases, derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name Wulfstan, composed of the elements 'wulf' meaning 'wolf', plus 'stan', a stone, and 'croft', a small holding (usually adjacent to a house) hence, 'Wulfstan's croft'. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 16th Century, (see below). On October 2nd 1575 Thomas, son of Robard Wozencroft, was christened in St. Andrews, Holborn, London, and in 1584 Joane, daughter of James Wolsoncroft, appears in the burial records of St. Thomas the Apostle's, London. In 1613 one, William Woolstencroft, of Manchester, was recorded in the Wills Records of Chester. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Wustencroft, which was dated 1524 - 'The Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk', during the reign of King Henry VIII, Bluff 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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