Lucraft and Luckraft One-name Study

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lucraft Origins in the South Hams

Reprinted here are the notes of part of one of the sessions at the One Name Day, where Ian Lucraft gave a brief introduction to some of the early records of the Luckraft and Lucraft families.

1332 Lay Subsidy

Queen Isabella, widow of Edward II ruling with her lover Mortimer, and peace had just been agreed with the Scots, under Robert the Bruce. England was more prosperous than ever, 5 million people, of whom 10% were in the towns. It would soon be followed by the Black Death and the Hundred Years War.

By the end of the 13th century, land was no longer the only way to measure a man's worth, and so new taxes were introduced based on moveable property and wages. After 1275 taxes were imposed through parliament, called lay subsidies, or tenths (reflecting the percentage of personal wealth due as payment, which was higher in towns than in rural areas where the rate was a fifteenth).

Essewater (Ashwater) Parish of Black Torrington, north of Okehampton,
Richard de Loccroft 18 pence (about average for non-landed men)

Is this a genuine early reference or an unconnected sound-alike?

1524 Lay Subsidy

Henry VIII had been on the throne since 1509. He's still married to his first wife, Catherine, who had her last still birth six years before in 1518. Henry is still on the side of the Pope, and Pope Clement awards Henry the title Defender of the Faith, (still on our coins today), in gratitude for the book Henry wrote three years before contradicting Martin Luther.

Loddiswell William Lovecrofte G5
John Lovecroft G4
John Lovecroft G3
Harberton William Lowcrofte W1
Richard Lowcrofte W1
Bridford William Lomecrofte G8
Exeter St Sidwell John Lowcroffthe G3

1569 Muster Roll

Now Elizabeth has been on the throne for a couple of decades, and relations with Spain are deteriorating. Phillip has ordered the seizure of English ships, though in June 1569 Spain indicated it would not go to war with England. In August 1569 the Queen stayed at Loseley Park, near Guildford, which is where we get nice yoghurt from today. In the Autumn of 1569 there was a serious conspiracy in the north of England because the queen had failed to settle the succession on Mary Queen of Scots. Men were alerted to the need to be ready to be put on the Muster Roll.

Revelstock Luke Luckrafte to present as a pikeman

Painton Martin Lowcrofte goods valued at £10-£20
to provide 1 bow, 1 sheaf of arrows, 1 steel cap, 1 bill

Harberton John Lowcrofte to present as a pikeman

Parish Events by 1599

Parish records began in 1538. By 1600 the war in the Netherlands had ended, and England and the Netherlands had defeated Spain. There was trouble in Ireland, where England ruled.

1552 Stoke Gabriel Alse, daughter of Nicholas Lucraft
1561 Painton Richard Luckraft **
1577 South Huish son to William Luccroufte and Agnes Woodmesson **
1590 Malborough Roger Luckcrofte marries Margaret Evens **
1596 Diptford Walter Lucraft having children **
1597 Halwell John Luckraft buried **

1600 - 1650

Over the next 50 years the records become more readily available to us. The new church in England had not settled its administrative affairs and there were no standard records kept. The number of people we find in the records is more closely related to the number that were actually present in the villages. During the Civil War (1640-1646) many records were lost or destroyed.

Not all the records survive, and not all the records have been made accessible to researchers, and I have note seen all the records that are available. But I think that I have a reasonable coverage. Perhaps 75% of the records ?

Luckrafts in Devon villages up to 1650

The following villages show Parish records of Luckrafts during this 50 year period:

Winckleigh 1607 Henricus Lukecraft married Priscilla Jeffrey
Buckfastleigh 1610 Richarda, son of Arthuri Luckroft born
East Portlemouth 1619 Ursula Luckcroft married William Lapthorne
Newton Ferrars 1626 John Luckcraft married Elizabeth Poste
Bovey Tracey 1628 Armanella Luckercraft married
Totnes 1637 Agnes Luckcraft married Geiles Exal
Staverton 1639 Agnes Luckraft married Thomas May
Kingsbridge 1640 Elizabeth Lecraft married Nathaniel Lovell
Dartmouth St Saviour 1644 William Laccraft married Thomasine Mortine
Loddiswell 1652 Agnes Luccroft, widow, lived there

1641 Protestation Returns

In 1641 all the adult males had to swear a public oath of allegiance sent out by Parliament, and read in all the churches, to defend the Protestant Religion against Charles I's perceived attempts to return the state to Catholicism; here we are at the start of the Civil War. The records for the villages exist and the lists for Devon, which contain Luckraft variants are as follows:

Shaugh Prior John Luckraft
Plympton St Mary John Luckcrofte
Rattery James Luccraft
Harberton David Luccraft
North Huish William Luckrafte
Diptford Henry, Thomas, Thomas and Peter Luckraft(e)
Moreleigh Robert Luccraft
Woodleigh Henry Luccraft
Loddiswell John, John, John and Nicholas Luccraft
Churstow Willliam Luccraft
Dodbrooke William Luccase and John Luccrast
Stockenham Robert Luccrast
South Milton John Luccraft
Malborough Thomas Luccraft

(There were also Lovecrafts, though no connection has ever been made with Lovecrafts. H.P. Lovecraft, the American cult writer tried but failed to make the connections.)

1700 in the Villages

By 1700 there has been a Luckraft event in most villages in the South Hams of Devon, and there is evidence of settled communities across the South Hams and into Exeter, Kings-bridge, Plymouth, and Dartmouth. The two volumes of village records in the One Name Study show the variety of villages, and the 30-40 trees in the records show the main family groups.


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