Recorded in several spelling forms including Crathorne, Craythorne, Craythorn, and Cratherne, this is an English surname. It is locational from a place called Crathorne in the county of North Yorkshire. This place is first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as Cratorne, and in the pipe rolls of the county in the year 1170 as Crathorn. The translation is apparently the thorn-bush inhabited by water crakes. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th century word "crach", meaning a crake, and "torn", a thorn-bush. Another placename with the same meaning and derivation is Crakethorn near Ebberston, also in North Yorkshire. Locational surnames were usually either those of the lord of the manor and his descendants, or that of former inhabitants who had moved to another area, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Spelling being at best erratic and local accents very thick, soon lead to the development of 'sounds' like' spellings. An early example of the surname recording is that of Ellen Crathorne who was christened on May 29th 1584, at Egglescliff, in County Durham. This was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.