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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Where did the English Radcliff family come from? What is the English Radcliff family crest and coat of arms? When did the Radcliff family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Radcliff family history?

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought much change to the island nation, including many immigrants with new names. Among these immigrants were the ancestors of the Radcliff family, who lived in Lancashire, at Radcliffe. The name of this place translates as red cliff, from its Saxon origin and indicates that originally the town was distinguished by its proximity to such a landmark on the east side of Irwell.


Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Radcliff were recorded, including Radcliffe, Radcliff, Radclyffe, Ratliffe, Ratliff, Ratlife and many more.

First found in Lancashire, at Radcliffe, a parish, in the union of Bury, hundred of Salford that dates back to at least the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Radecliue. [1] One of the oldest records of the surname was William de Radeclive, one of the knights of the Grand Inquest, 13th of John. [2] Radcliffe Tower, now in ruins, was one of the most considerable manorial seats in the county. Richard of Radclyffe Tower was listed there in the reign of Edward I; [3] as was Richard Radcliffe, High Sheriff of Lancashire, 32 Edward III. The tower was rebuilt in the reign by James de Radcliffe, Lord of the Manor of Radcliffe in 1403. Radcliffe is today a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, in Greater Manchester.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Radcliff research. Another 359 words (26 lines of text) covering the years 1165, 1050, 1476, 1547, 1194, 1485, 1608, 1654, 1628, 1629, 1609, 1606, 1625, 1697, 1655, 1705, 1689, 1716, 1650, 1714, 1593, 1657, 1599, 1657, 1633, 1621, 1629, 1611, 1673, 1646, 1673, 1652 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Radcliff History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 473 words (34 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Radcliff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Radcliff family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 45 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Radcliff arrived in North America very early:

Radcliff Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • James and Jane Radcliff, who settled in New England in 1685
  • Jane Radcliff, aged 20, landed in New England in 1699

Radcliff Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Mary Radcliff, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

Radcliff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Alexander Radcliff settled in New York in 1803
  • Jerry Radcliff, who arrived in New York in 1824
  • Thomas Radcliff, who arrived in New York in 1826
  • William Radcliff, who landed in New York in 1826
  • George Radcliff, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840

Radcliff Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • John J. Radcliff, aged 41, who emigrated to the United States from Carnavon, Wales, in 1905
  • Clittes Radcliff, aged 2, who settled in America from St. Croix, in 1906
  • George Radcliff, aged 33, who landed in America from London, England, in 1911
  • John (or Juan) Radcliff, aged 23, who landed in America from Stockport, England, in 1913
  • Thomas Radcliff, aged 20, who settled in America from Liverpool, in 1919

Radcliff Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Patk Radcliff, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749

Radcliff Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Lilian Radcliff, aged 25, who emigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1909
  • Sarah Radcliff, aged 35, who emigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1913
  • William Radcliff, aged 55, who settled in Toronto, Canada, in 1913


  • Willard Lawson "Will" Radcliff (1939-2014), American businessman who created the Slush Puppie, a frozen slush drink
  • Dwight Radcliff, American retired sheriff of Pickaway County, Ohio who was re-elected 12 times
  • John Young Radcliff (1848-1911), American Major League Baseball player who played from 1871 to 1875
  • David Allison Radcliff (b. 1934), American freestyle swimmer at the 1956 Summer Olympics
  • Robert "Bobby" Radcliff (b. 1951), born Robert Radcliff Ewan, American blues guitarist and singer
  • Jacob Radcliff (1764-1842), American politician, 50th and 53rd Mayor of New York City (1810-1811) and (1815-1818)
  • Ryan Radcliff (b. 1990), American football quarterback
  • Benjamin Radcliff (b. 1963), American political scientist and a professor at the University of Notre Dame
  • Damaine Radcliff (b. 1979), American film actor
  • Raymond Allen "Rip" Radcliff (1906-1962), American Major League Baseball outfielder and first baseman who played from 1934 to 1943



  • The Descendants of Joseph Ratcliff of Bienville Parish, Louisiana by Jane Clancy Debenport.
  • Isaac and Mary (Presnall) Ratcliff of Henry County, Indiana, and their Descendants by Richard P. Ratcliff

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Virtus propter se
Motto Translation: Virtue for its own sake.


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.

Other References

  1. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  4. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  9. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Radcliff Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Radcliff Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 13 January 2016 at 08:52.

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