Ratcliff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Ratcliff is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Ratcliff 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.

Early Origins of the Ratcliff family

The surname Ratcliff 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]

Early History of the Ratcliff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ratcliff research. Another 219 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1165, 1050, 1476, 1547, 1813, 1194, 1485, 1608, 1654, 1628, 1629, 1609, 1606, 1494, 1381, 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 Ratcliff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ratcliff Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Ratcliff has been recorded under many different variations, including Radcliffe, Radcliff, Radclyffe, Ratliffe, Ratliff, Ratlife and many more.

Early Notables of the Ratcliff family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Radcliffe, Sheriff of county Lancaster in 1194; Sir Richard Ratcliffe, KG (died 1485), a close confidant of Richard III of England; Sir Alexander Radcliff (1608-1654), English politician, Member of Parliament for Lancashire (1628-1629); and John Ratcliffe (d. 1609) captain of the Discovery, one of three ships that sailed from England on December 19, 1606, to Virginia, to found a colony. He became the second president of the Jamestown colony, and was killed by the Powhatan Indians. Sir Brian Roucliffe (died 1494) was an English judge, was eldest of the four sons of...
Another 178 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ratcliff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ratcliff Ranking

In the United States, the name Ratcliff is the 2,609th most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Ratcliff family to Ireland

Some of the Ratcliff family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Ratcliff migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Ratcliffs were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Ratcliff Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robet Ratcliff, who settled in Plymouth in 1623
  • Mary Ratcliff, who landed in Maryland in 1664 [5]
  • Emanuel Ratcliff, who arrived in Maryland or Virginia in 1669 [5]
  • Sammell Ratcliff, aged 24, who arrived in Virginia in 1684 [5]
Ratcliff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Ratcliff, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1838 [5]
  • William Ratcliff, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • R Ratcliff, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]
  • R B Ratcliff, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [5]
  • Amelia Ratcliff, aged 40, who immigrated to America from Blackburn, in 1892
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Ratcliff Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • C E Ratcliff, who arrived in Arkansas in 1900 [5]
  • Albert Edward Ratcliff, aged 21, who landed in America from Strood, England, in 1907
  • Charles Victa Ratcliff, aged 18, who landed in America from Strood, England, in 1907
  • Archibald Ratcliff, aged 14, who landed in America from Twickenham, England, in 1908
  • Elizabeth Ratcliff, aged 68, who landed in America from Warrington, England, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Ratcliff migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ratcliff Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Ada Ratcliff, aged 50, who settled in Montreal, Canada, in 1924

Australia Ratcliff migration to Australia +

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

Ratcliff Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Ratcliff, English convict who was convicted in Shropshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Thomas Ratcliff, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander" [7]
  • Bartholomew Ratcliff, aged 48, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Oregon" [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Ratcliff (post 1700) +

  • John W. Ratcliff (b. 1961), American noted game developer
  • Edward Ratcliff (1835-1915), Union Army soldier during the American Civil War, recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Chaffin's Farm
  • David Ratcliff (b. 1970), American painter based in Los Angeles
  • Roy Ratcliff (b. 1947), American Christian minister and author
  • Jason Ratcliff (b. 1967), American NASCAR crew chief
  • Edward Norris Ratcliff (b. 1983), American mixed martial artist
  • Alexandra "Sandy" Ratcliff (1948-2019), English actress, one of the original cast members in the BBC soap opera EastEnders in the 1980s
  • John Ratcliff (1848-1925), English cricketer who played for Surrey in 1876
  • Daniel Rowlinson Ratcliff (1837-1923), English lock and safe manufacturer and a Liberal politician
  • Robert Frederick Ratcliff (1867-1943), English brewer, Territorial Army officer and politician

RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Norman Albert Ratcliff, English 1st Class Passenger from Gillingham, Kent, England, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania (1915) and survived the sinking [9]

The Ratcliff Motto +

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.

Suggested Readings for the name Ratcliff +

  • 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.

  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.
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Lysander.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The barque OREGON, 521 tons - 1851 voyage to South Australia. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Oregon.htm
  9. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/

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