Friday, 30 September 2011

The Cruise surname

Cruise is a very old Irish surname of Anglo-Norman origin which has been present in Ireland since the Anglo-Norman invasion in 1169. The family held lands in Dublin and in County Meath. In early records the name is mostly spelt Cruys, and sometimes Cruce or Crues, but the spelling evolved to Cruise, and this is now the predominant spelling of the surname in Ireland today. Some time before 1176 Augustino de Cruce witnessed a grant by Strongbow of land in Dublin,1 and this is the earliest reference to the surname in Ireland found to date. In about 1200 the lands of Stephen de Cruwes were confiscated by order of the king. He was subsequently allowed to regain possession of these lands on payment of fifteen marks.2 There are a number of early references to the surname in the Calendars of the Patent Rolls. There was a Philip de Cruce in Dublin in 1229, and Miles de Cruys held lands in the manor of Balimaglassan in County Meath in 1279. Also in 1279 Sir Hugh de Cruys was granted "certain demesnes" in Ireland for his "good service in [the] Irish wars".3 A Robert de Cruys of Nalle, Co. Meath, died in 1292 and it was noted in his inquisition post mortem that he held "tenements at Nalle, Ardmays, Cruys, and Moderath".4 The castle in Naul that was once the family seat in Dublin is now sadly in ruins, but the name lives on in the townland of Cruiserath in Finglas parish, County Dublin. In County Meath the family possessed the castles and estates of Cruisetown (now known as Cruicetown), Moydorragh (possibly the Moderath cited in 1279) and Rathmore. The surname Cruise has now spread around the world and is found today in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States, but the highest density of the surname is still to be found in Ireland, particularly in County Dublin.

I have been collecting records on the Cruise surname for some time and I have now officially expanded my one-name study to include Cruise as a variant spelling. DNA evidence has already suggested that there is a link between the Cruwys family of Cruwys Morchard in Devon and the Anglo-Norman Cruises. The Devon family is well documented and the family tree can be traced back to the thirteenth century with reasonable confidence, helped by the fact that the family have been Lords of the Manor of Cruwys Morchard continuously from the 1200s to the present day. Irish records are more problematic, and none of the Irish Cruise lines that have been researched to date can be traced back much before the late 1700s, though there are many medieval records that have yet to be explored. We are hoping that genetic evidence will help to fill the gaps in the genealogical record, and will also provide clues as to the origins of the surname in France or Belgium. To this end I am hoping to recruit more Irish Cruises to my DNA project. A sponsor has generously provided funding and I am now able to offer free Y-DNA tests to any Cruise men with documentary proof that they have a Cruise ancestor on the paternal line who was born in Ireland. The offer is open on a first come first served basis but preference will be given to men living in Ireland. The offer is restricted to two free kits per lineage and no men closer than third cousins will be tested. If you are interested in taking part do get in touch. Full details of the offer can be found in a flyer which can be downloaded here.

1. T. Gilbert (ed.), Register of the abbey of St Thomas, Dublin (London, 1889), 370. Cited in An Archaeological and Historical Assessment of Cruicetown Church and Graveyard, Cruicetown, Co. Meath. Commissioned by the Cruicetown Cemetery Conservation Committee and carried out by the Discovery Programme’s Medieval Rural Settlement Project, issued 27 May 2005. Available from the Heritage Council. 
2. H.S. Sweetman, Calendar of documents relating to Ireland, 5 vols (London, 1875-86), i, no. 113, 17. Cited in An Archaeological and Historical Assessment of Cruicetown Church and Graveyard Cruicetown, Co. Meath. Commissioned by the Cruicetown Cemetery Conservation Committee and carried out by the Discovery Programme’s Medieval Rural Settlement Project, issued 27 May 2005. Available from the Heritage Council.
3. Knights of Edward I. Volume I: A to E. Notices collected by Rev. C. Moor, The Harleian Society, 1929, p257.
4. Knights of Edward I. op. cit.,  p257.

© Debbie Kennett 2011


Andrew Millard said...

The Sweetman reference to Stephen de Cruwes is available on The index to the volume points to several other mentions of the name.

Debbie Kennett said...

Many thanks Andrew. I looked on Google Books but forgot about the Internet Archive. I've now added all those extra mentions of the surname to my collection of early Cruys references in Ireland. The book clarifies that Stephen Cruwes had half a knight's fee in Nalle and was succeeded by his son Robert de Cruus in around 1227. There was also a Roger de Cruus who in 1224 was desperately asking for permission to return to England.

Anonymous said...

Considering that the Irish Cruises in their own DNA project are of the I1 haplogroup, I find a relationship to the Cruwys of Devon to be highly unlikely. Although the Crews of Virginia are also I1, the codes are significantly different from the Irish Cruises.

Joseph Crews

Debbie Kennett said...


The Cruise DNA project at FTDNA is no longer active. I have one Irish Cruise in my project who is not in the Cruise project. He is R1b1a2 and matches one of my Cruwys groups (Cruwys group 1 on the results page):

It is a more distant match, but we've gone up to the full 111 markers and all the SNP results match. There are four other Cruise groups that don't match any of the other variants. One group is Canadian, the two singletons are Irish, and there is an African-American who is haplogroup A. After 900 years you wouldn't expect all the results to match anyway, and the surname could have arisen independently elsewhere.