This interesting surname is a dialectal variant of "Crawk" itself deriving from the Medieval English 'cranke' meaning 'Cheerful and Vigorous' and was originally given as a nickname to a merry, high - spirited person. Alternatively, the name may be of English locational origin from "Crank", a hamlet near St. Helens in South West Yorkshire, believed to be composed of the Anglo-Saxon element "cran(uc)", crane, possibly a place where cranes were plentiful. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 12th Century, (see below). One of the earliest recordings of the name in London was the marriage of Richard Cranke and Ann Hart in St. Nicholas Acons on June 9th 1578. The high incidence of surname recordings in Lancashire registers from the late 16th Century suggests that the name is particularly prevalent in that county. On February 11th 1590, Peter Crank and Ellen Cropper were married in St. Mary's Church, Precot. John Cranch married Katteran West at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London on October 23rd 1603. On February 14th 1685 Mary, daughter of Thomas Crank, was christened in Manchester Cathedral. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godric Cranc, which was dated 1221, 'Records of Bury St. Edmunds', Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 111, 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.