The Family Name

Roycroft, Raycroft, Raecroft

The Irish surname Raycraft is a variant of the surname Roycroft, which is of English origin, being one of those names that was brought to Ireland by English settler families. 

The name is of local origin, derived from the name of the place where the original bearer once lived or owned land.  Hence, it is derived from the place-name Roycroft, which is found in several places in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire.  This is an English topographical name for a "dweller at a farm which specialized in growing rye".   The derivation is from "Rye" plus "Croft".  

The name also applying to the hamlet of Ryecroft, near Leeds in West Yorkshire.  The surname is first recorded in the 13th Century, and the name development has included, de Ruycroft (1325), Ricroft (1638) and Ryecroft (1779).  The name is well known in County Cork.  The original name holders being known as "Adventures" - which was a person who subscribed a sum of money to equip an army to suppress the Irish Rising of 1641 and secure the lands to be seized from the existing land owners in rebellion.  The name spelling in Cork is Roycroft, Raycroft and Raecroft.

Family names, as hereditary surnames, did not come into general use until after the Norman Conquest of 1066.  The Normans introduced National Taxation to England which they called the POLL Tax (Poll=Head), and in consequence created the need for surnames for identification purposes.  Before this period there was no system of hereditary family surnames.  However, with the growth of documentation and the increase in the population in towns, there was a need for a more comprehensive system of appellation.  Thus, a man was often known by his former place of residence or his place of birth, in order to distinguish him from those who bore the same personal name.  In time, this additional name became hereditary.  

In the Birth Indexes for the year 1890 there were seven entries for this surname of which six were registered in Cork and one in the province of Connacht.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Riecroft which was dated C. 1230, The Pipe Rolls of Cambridge.

During the reign of King Henry III, the Frenchman, 1216 - 1272, Scotland, Ireland and Wales obtained formal records later than England and this is reflected in the recordings.  All surnames of every Country have been subject to changes owing to dialect, Civil War and plain poor spelling!

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