Cracknell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Cracknell family

The surname Cracknell was first found in Stirlingshire, where the name may have been an occupational name for someone who bakes biscuits as "a cracknel is a kind of crisp biscuit." [1]

However, another source disagrees with this theory stating the name is from a "dweller at 'Craca's Slope' or Corner from the [ Anglo-Saxon Craca, genit. Cracan + heal(h] 2 Craca's Hall [Old English heall] Hardly a nickname from the biscuit so called." [2]

And another source claims the name is from Craigneill, a location name in Edinburgh. [3]

The name seems to be from northern England too as Elias de Crackenhall was listed in Yorkshire in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1220. A very rare name, the next listing of the family was more than 300 years later in 1524, when Robert Craknell was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Staffordshire. [4]

Crakehall is a township, in the parish and union of Bedale, wapentake of Hang-East, in the North Riding of Yorkshire and Elmer with Crakehill is a township, in the parish of Topcliffe, union of Thirsk, wapentake of Birdforth, also in the North Riding of Yorkshire, [5]

Great and Little Crakehall date back to the Domesday Book when they were listed as Crachele [6] and literally meant "nook of land frequented by crows or ravens." [7]

Early History of the Cracknell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cracknell research. Another 97 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1462, 1567 and 1571 are included under the topic Early Cracknell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cracknell Spelling Variations

The variation in the spelling of Medieval names is a result of the lack of spelling rules in the English language prior to the last few hundred years. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound, often varying the spelling of name within a single document. Cracknell has appeared as Cracknell, Craigingelt, Craigneill, Craignall, Craignell, Cracknall and many more.

Early Notables of the Cracknell family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Cracknell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cracknell migration to the United States +

As the persecution of Clan families continued, they sailed for North America in increasing numbers. In most cases, they found the freedom and opportunity they sought. Land was often available and the American War of Independence allowed Scots an opportunity to solidify their independence from the English crown. These settlers and their ancestors went on to play essential roles in the forging of the nations of the United States and Canada. Among them:

Cracknell Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Ada Cracknell, aged 47, who immigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1912
  • Anna Cracknell, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States from Ardrahan, Ireland, in 1912
  • C. Cracknell, aged 23, who landed in America from Hull, England, in 1919
  • Albert Edward Cracknell, aged 27, who settled in America from Manchester, in 1922

Australia Cracknell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Cracknell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Cracknell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke of Bedford" in 1848 [8]
  • Edward Cracknell, English convict from Essex, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia [9]

New Zealand Cracknell migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Cracknell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Cracknell, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship "Catherine Stuart Forbes"
  • John Cracknell, aged 31, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • Mary Ann Cracknell, aged 25, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • William Cracknell, aged 9, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Catherine Stewart Forbes" in 1841
  • John Cracknell, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Catherine Stuart Forbes
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Cracknell (post 1700) +

  • Richard "Dick" Cracknell (b. 1929), English professional rugby league footballer in the 1950s
  • James Cracknell OBE (b. 1972), British eight-time gold medalist rowing champion and double Olympic gold medalist
  • Chris Cracknell (b. 1984), English rugby union player
  • Charles W. P. Cracknell MBE (1915-1997), British classical bassoonist and pedagogue
  • Carrie Cracknell (b. 1980), British theatre director, Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre (2007 to 2012)
  • Adam Cracknell (b. 1985), Canadian professional AHA ice hockey right winger
  • Ruth Cracknell (1925-2002), Australian theatre and television character actress
  • Sarah Cracknell (b. 1967), English pop singer
  • Vernon Francis Cracknell (1912-1989), New Zealand politician, 3rd Leader of Social Credit (1963-1970)
  • Leonard Cracknell (1941-1998), British actor


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  7. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DUKE OF BEDFORD 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848DukeofBedford.htm
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia in 1849 with 303 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adelaide/1849


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