|The name CRAGG derives from the Gaelic 'creag', which in middle English became 'crag(g)'. This name indicated "one who dwelled near a steep or precipitous rock or stone." Variants of the name include Craggs, Craig, and Craiggs. Other variants also exist that were the result of phonetic spelling from time to time. The earliest occurrence of the name that has been found so far is a mention of a Henry Crag in the Assize Rolls for Yorkshire in 1204. Later a Hudde del Crag appears in the Assize Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1260. In 1301 the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire contain references to Peter del Kragg and John Cragges. It is difficult to ascertain whether these people are ancestors or not, but they are good examples of variances of the name Cragg. Only recently as the late 1800's had the family name changed from Cragg to Craig and back again to Cragg.|
A Family Crest?
It is difficult to say whether the Cragg family in Australia have the right to bear a Coat-of-Arms. As yet there has not been found any direct link to an ancestor who was awarded a coat of arms. Still there may be an ancestor who was awarded a Coat-of-Arms. It just has to be proven.
In the County of Cumbria (formerly Cumberland), there is a small farming village called Ireby. If you were to take the High Ireby Road out of the village and turn right into New Park Lane you would find yourself driving down an old country lane weaving through paddocks full of sheep. Just past an old stone farmhouse, there lies an ancient stone church dating from Norman times (12th Century) surrounded by leaning tomb stones and a knee-high stone wall. Within Old Ireby Church on the southern wall there is the following inscription upon a stone:
'George Crage, of Priour Hall Gent. who faithfullye served Queen Elizabeth, King James, Prince Henry and King Charles King of England 1626' 1,2
There is also a crest accompanying the inscription on the centre panel of the monument that has 'ermine on a fess and three crescents'2. Three crescents generally meant that this person was the third son. Prior Hall was owned by Carlisle priory and stood near the Church, but was demolished in the 19th century and moved to a location north-east of the Church. This crest has also been found in Devon and Middlesex1. The town of Ireby itself is only 15km north of where the Cragg family was located a century and a half later. So the Coat-of-Arms mentioned above may well be in the Cragg family. The full description of the Coat-of-Arms as known today in Burkes General Armoury is:
The motto of the Cragg family is 'bene merere et si praemia desint', which means 'he who serves reaps the final reward'.
1. Hudleston & Boumpherey, Cumberland Families and Heraldry, 1978.
2. Paul Aubert Irby, The Irbys of Lincolnshire and The Irebys of Cumberland, Part II, 1939.
3. Scott Michael Harrison, The Pilgrimage of Grace In The Lake Counties, 1536-7, Royal Historical Society, London, 1981.