Show ContentsRoycroft History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Roycroft is one of the many new names that came to England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Roycroft family lived at Rycroft, in the parish of Birstall, Yorkshire. The surname literally means "dweller by the ryecroft," from the Old English words "ryge, croft." 1

Early Origins of the Roycroft family

The surname Roycroft was first found in Yorkshire at Ryecroft, a hamlet in the township of Tong, and parish of Birstall. 2 There are several smaller communities that bear this name including locals in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands. But it is from Yorkshire that one of the first records of the name was found: Margareta de Rycroft who was listed there in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. The same rolls list Ricardus Rycroft. 2

While there is no doubt of the Yorkshire origin of the name, we would be remiss if we did not include a couple of early entries for the name, that of: Richard de Riecroft at Barnewall, Cambridgeshire c. 1230; and Richard de Ruycroft in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1325. 1

By the 16th century, the family had branched to Cheshire where the Wills at Chester listed Margaret Rycroft, of Haigh, widow, 1582 and George Minshull, of Rycroft, yeoman, 1586. 2

Early History of the Roycroft family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Roycroft research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1646, 1650, 1690, 1779 and 1895 are included under the topic Early Roycroft History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Roycroft Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Rycroft, Roycroft, Raycroft and others.

Early Notables of the Roycroft family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • Sir Richard Rycroft of Everlands. Samuel and Thomas Roycroft, made books in London from about 1650-1690 and from them the term "Roycroft" was born. Elbert Hubbard founded a community in 1895 in the vi...

United States Roycroft migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Roycroft or a variant listed above were:

Roycroft Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Roycroft, who arrived in New York in 1841 3

Australia Roycroft migration to Australia +

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

Roycroft Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Roycroft, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Barwell" in September 1797, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 4

New Zealand Roycroft 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:

Roycroft Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Roycroft, British settler, as the 2nd Detachment of New Zealand Corps of Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Minerva" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th October 1847 5

Contemporary Notables of the name Roycroft (post 1700) +

  • John Roycroft (b. 1954), American full contact kickboxer
  • Arthur John Roycroft (b. 1929), English chess author
  • Wayne William Roycroft AM (b. 1946), Australian two-time Olympic bronze medalist equestrian and National Eventing Coach (1988-2010)
  • Maurice Roycroft (b. 1960), birth name of Maurice Seezer, an Irish songwriter, musician, and film music composer
  • David Roycroft (b. 1947), former British diplomat, Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales in 1985
  • Sean Roycroft (b. 1985), Scottish professional footballer
  • Dan Roycroft (b. 1978), Canadian Olympic cross country skier
  • James William "Bill" George Roycroft OBE (b. 1915), Australian former Olympic equestrian champion

The Roycroft 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: Faythe hathe no fear
Motto Translation: Faith has no fear.

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. 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)
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th September 2020). Retrieved from
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook