The surname of CROSS was a locational name 'the dweller at the sign of the cross' the roadside or market cross. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. Early records of the name mention Jordan ad Crucem, 1273 County Buckinghamshire. Johannes del Crosse of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas atte-Cross, rector of Bexwell, County Norfolk in the year 1400. John, son of Richard Cross was baptised at St. Jame's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1585. The name was taken to Scotland by settlers, where it is usually rendered as Crouch. Johannes Crooch witnessed a confirmation charter by the Earl of Buchanan to the canon's of St. Andrews circa 1500. John Cruche was the burgess of the Canongate, Edinburgh in 1567. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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