This uncommon surname is a variant of the more familiar Barcroft, itself of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational name from Barcroft, a property in Cliviger, Lancashire, or from Barcroft in the Haworth urban district of the Yorkshire West Riding. The initial element of the name is either the Olde English pre 7th Century "bere", barley, also found in Barden (Yorkshire), or the Olde English "baer", swine-pasture, with "croft", a piece of enclosed land used for tillage or pasture, or a small piece of arable land adjacent to a house. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. A family bearing the name Barcroft(e) lived in Lancashire in the reign of Henry 111, and on May 15th 1562, Henry Barcrofte and Elizabethe Haydock were married at Burnley, Lancashire. The name is also well recorded in Worcestershire Church Registers as Barcrofte (Leigh with Bransford, 1576), and as Bearcroft (1639). On December 27th of the latter year, William, son of Robert and Joane Bearcroft, was christened at St. Thomas', Dudley, Worcestershire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Bearcroft family of Worcestershire is described thus: "Sable on a chevron between three bears' heads erased argent, three swans close of the first." The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Barcorft(e), which was dated circa 1272, in Baines', "History 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.