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

Radcliffe is a name that was brought to England by the ancestors of the Radcliffe family when they migrated to the region after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The Radcliffe family 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.


The surname Radcliffe was 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] "In the 14th of Edward III., Richard Radcliffe held the manor for the manor of Whalley [at Wiswell]." [2] 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. Another branch of the family was found at Winmarleigh, a township in Lancashire. "The Radcliffes afterwards became lords of the manor [of Winmarleigh] by the marriage of Richard le Radcliffe with the heiress of the Plesyngtons; and the estate passed through several heirs to Anne Radcliffe, who married Sir Gilbert Gerard: by a descendant of the last-named, it is supposed to have been sold to the Pattens." [2]

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Radcliffe have been found, including Radcliffe, Radcliff, Radclyffe, Ratliffe, Ratliff, Ratlife and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Radcliffe research. Another 437 words (31 lines of text) covering the years 1165, 1050, 1476, 1547, 1813, 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 Radcliffe History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Radcliffe 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.


For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. 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 Radcliffe were among those contributors:

Radcliffe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Philip Radcliffe, who landed in Massachusetts in 1631
  • James Radcliffe, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1684
  • Richard Radcliffe, aged 21, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1685
  • Robert Radcliffe, who landed in New England in 1686

Radcliffe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • John Radcliffe settled in Philadelphia in 1775

Radcliffe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Alexander Radcliffe, aged 23, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • John W Radcliffe, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1820
  • Thomas Radcliffe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1869

Radcliffe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • James Radcliffe arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • James Radcliffe arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861
  • Ann Radcliffe arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861
  • Norman Radcliffe arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861
  • Emma Radcliffe arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861


  • Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe (1902-2005), American Major League Baseball player
  • James "Jimmy" Radcliffe (1936-1973), American soul singer and composer
  • Mark Radcliffe (1918-2012), one of the last surviving American members of the legendary Devil's Brigade, a joint US/Canadian task force during World War II
  • John Radcliffe, American politician, Candidate for New York State Senate 25th District, 1922
  • Gerald E. Radcliffe, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1952, 1960, 1964
  • George Lovic Pierce Radcliffe (1877-1974), American Democrat politician, Secretary of State of Maryland, 1919-20; U.S. Senator from Maryland, 1935-47
  • George E. Radcliffe, American politician, Mayor of Hamilton, Ohio, 1952-53
  • Clayton Samuel Radcliffe (b. 1889), American Democrat politician, Chair of Cheyenne County Democratic Party, 1940
  • Ben H. Radcliffe, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 26th District, 1955-60
  • Aubrey Radcliffe (b. 1941), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan State University Board of Trustees, 1973-80; Candidate in primary for U.S. Representative from Michigan 6th District, 1980



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. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  3. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  4. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  6. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  7. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  9. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Radcliffe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Radcliffe 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 29 March 2016 at 06:23.

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