This surname of NORCROSS was of the locational group of surnames meaning 'the dweller at the North Cross' from residence by some landmark made by a cross. This surname has ramified strongly in the United States and is also spelt NORTHCROSS. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Early records of the name include Agness NORCROSSE of Alston (widow), who was recorded in the Lancashire Wills at Richond in the year 1636, and Elizabeth NORCROSS of Rawclift was recorded in the same Wills in 1670. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. Jonathan NORCROSS and Elizabeth Odell were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1724, and James NORCROSS of Wiltshire and Martha Poulton were wed at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1729. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84.
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