The surname BANCROFT is English in origin, being one
of those names derived from the name of a dwelling
place or locality where a bearer of the name lived.
The name can be traced to the old english term "of the
bank-croft", denoting an enclosure on a slope or bank.
During the Middle Ages it was common practice to
identify a man with the area from which he lived, and
to then refer to him in this manner. Therefore if a
person lived at or near, a single geographical feature
such as a slope, this would become their name, and to
which they would become known as.
Surnames were also occasionally derived from
townships, and it is possible that the name was also
originally used by residents of Bencroft in the county
of Cambridge, and that the name then became corrupted
Very early instances of the name were generally
prefixed with 'de' meaning 'of ', a preposition used
to denote surnames of local origin.
The first recorded instance of the name occurred in
the Hundred Rolls, a document drawn up in London in
1273, where one Johannes de Bank-Croft is listed.
The modern form of the name began to appear during the
16th century, and in Yorkshire was sometimes spelt
The Yorkshire areas that supported the name from the
begining of the 17th century in any numbers, seem to
be the parishes of Kildwick, Halifax, and the ancient
chapelry of Heptonstall, gradually then working its
way across the moors to Oxenhope, Haworth and Keighley
There are also variations of the name listed thoughout
Yorkshire, such as Barcroft and Beecroft.
Population listed on 1881 census.
The only counties in England, where significant
numbers of Bancroft individuals are listed in 1881 are
Yorkshire - 984
Cheshire - 347
Derbyshire - 281
Middlesex - 120
Staffordshire - 77
Leicestershire - 66
Nottinghamshire - 55
All other counties in England, list numbers less than
50 individuals, and many counties show no individuals
at all. There are also very few individuals listed in
either Scotland or Wales.
It therfore seems clear from this, that the name must
have originated in Northern England, in the