This interesting name derives from the medieval English "cranke" meaning "Cheerful and Vigerous" and was originally given as a nickname to a merry, high - spirited person. 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 Cranke and Ellen Cropper were married in St. Mary's Church, Precot, and on February 14th 1685 Mary, daughter of Thomas Crank, was christened in Manchester Cathedral. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name has the blazon of per bend sinister blue and green, a gold lion passant regardant, on a canton argent an escallop gules. The canton being the highest award in heraldic terms, given for valour in the field of battle. The crest is a gold lion's head erased. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godric Cranc, which was dated 1221, in the "Records of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, 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.