Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having lived in Yorkshire, where the family was found since the early Middle Ages. The name is of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin, deriving from two possible sources. Firstly, such Old English terms as mete-corn, meaning "corn for food," and mete-cu, meaning "cow that is to furnish food," make it conceivable that the name Medcalf is derived from an Old English word "mete-calf," meaning "a calf being fattened up for slaughtering." In this instance, the name would have been originally borne by a calf farmer. Alternatively, the name may come from Middleton Calf Top, a settlement on "The Calf," a hill located at the western boundary of Yorkshire; an early inhabitant of this settlement was known as Medecalf.
Early Origins of the Medcalf family
Yorkshire, where the first bearer of the name was said to be William Medecalf de Dent, who lived in Middleton Calf Top during the 12th century when the boundaries of the new counties of Westmorland, Cumberland, and Yorkshire West Riding were formed.
The name also appeared on the census rolls where one of the earliest known bearers, Adam Medecalf, appeared in these rolls in 1301. There seems to be a historical relationships with the Turnbulls that goes back at least 500 years. In most cases the surnames were seen side by side as seen in the humorous quote: "Mr. Metcalf ran off on the meeting of a cow, With pale Mr. Turnbull behind him" CITATION[CLOSE]
Another source claims this as the "traditional" origin of the name: "One John Strong having seized a mad bull by the nostrils with his left hand, killed the beast with his right, and being afterwards questioned on the subject of his prowess, modestly declared that he had simply met a calf. From that time he acquired the surname of Metcalf!" CITATION[CLOSE]
This same source has another whimsical story: "Another version of the story is that 'two men being in the woods together at evening, seeing a four-footed animal coming towards them,' one said, 'Have you not heard of lions in these woods?' The other replied that he had, but had never seen any such thing. The animal coming near, one ran away, while the other resolved to meet it; which proving to be a red calf, he that met it got the name of Metcalfe, and he that ran away that of Lightfoot!" CITATION[CLOSE]
Another authority claims "It is a remarkable fact that I cannot find Metcalf in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of of 1379. But the Meducrofts are there. Probably the corruption had not yet taken place." CITATION[CLOSE]
By the 16th and 17th century, the name was "so numerous are they that there is scarcely a town or village in the North Riding [of Yorkshire] which cannot own an inhabitant of the name; in truth, in 1607 the Metcalfes were accounted the most numerous family in England; even in 1555 it is recorded that Sir Christopher Metcalfe, of Nappa Hall, near Askrigg, being High Sheriff of Yorkshire, was attended by 300 horsemen, all of his own family and name." CITATION[CLOSE]
Early History of the Medcalf family
Another 317 words (23 lines of text) covering the years 1556, 1717, 1810, 1785, 1846, 1843 and are included under the topic Early Medcalf History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Medcalf Spelling Variations
spelling variations, including Metcalfe, Medcalfe, Metcalf, Medcalf, Midkiff and many more.
Early Notables of the Medcalf family (pre 1700)
High Sheriff of Yorkshire, who met the Judges of Assize in York on horseback with 300 mounted men of his own name and kindred, John Metcalf (1717-1810), known as Blind Jack of Knaresborough, a blind British...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Medcalf Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Medcalf family to Ireland
Some of the Medcalf family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 142 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Medcalf family to the New World and Oceana
To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Medcalf were among those contributors:
Medcalf Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Medcalf Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Medcalf Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
Contemporary Notables of the name Medcalf (post 1700)
Medcalf Family Crest Products