This interesting and unusual surname, recorded in London Church Registers from the mid 16th Century under the variant spellings Croot, Croote, Crut, Crouth and Crowthe, has two distinct possible origins. Firstly, the name may derive from the Middle English "crouth", related to the Welsh "crwth", meaning "crowd", i.e. a bowed stringed instrument popular in medieval times, and originally given either as a metonymic occupational name to a maker of this instrument, or as a nickname to a particularly good player on one. The second possibility is that the name derives from the Old French "croute", undressed leather, and originally given as a metonymic occupational name to a worker in leather or hide. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary; while a sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames, which were given in the first instance with reference to occupation or to a variety of characteristics. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of William Crouth on March 18th 1582, at St. Mary Magdalene's, Milk Street; the christening of Ann Crowthe on June 7th 1601, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster; and the christening of John, son of William and Veare Croot, at St. Margaret's, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jone Croote, which was dated September 9th 1540, marriage to John Lewys, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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.