The Croucher Genealogy

Gendex

The Gendex contains entries for Crouchers mainly for the counties of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire in South Eastern England except where people have moved elsewhere, and the families of relatives.

The Origins of the name

The name comes from the "cross" and has several possible origins:
1) bearer of the cross in battle
2) employed in a church or monastry - certainly there are several mentions of Crouchers in connection with Waverley Abbey near Farnham, Surrey, England
3) living near a cross roads
4) living under a cross (there are several ironstone hills south of Farnham which were probably pagan sites, and were Christianised by errecting crosses on them).
6) holder of the cross (in the sense of holding the land).

Is it coincidence that the farm where Crouchers lived in 1300 to 1350 was called Green Cross from the 1600s to today? There were also Crouchers living in Froxfield during the 1300s, and there is a place there called High Cross.

The following is extracted from A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames by Charles Wareing Bardsley MA 1901
Crouch, Croucher, Crutcher -
A local name meaning 'at the cross'- roadside or market cross [...]. Crouch still lingers in our 'crutched' or 'crouched friars.' Langland describes a pilgrim as having 'many a crouch' embroidered on his cloke. [...] John atte Cruche 1273, Millesenta Cruche co. Norf. 1273, Robert Cruche co Norf ibid. [...] John Crowcher, rector of Feltwell co Norf.1430 [...]

It is obvious that there was a large number of families with the name Cruce, Cruch, Cruche, Crouch, Croucher etc. living at several widely scattered locations in Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex when surnames became established in the 1300s, so it is unlikely that there is a single ancester.

The name is Norman French (they who visited us with William I in 1066 and All That). This does not imply the the family has Norman origins. The Normans formed the upper class, and the name never appears in histories of that time.

A complication in interpreting the early records (up to 1400) is that the hereditary surname was only inherited by the most senior child - other children had other surnames which could change during their lives (for example Richard Chismon seems to have changed to Richard atte Crouch'), and could be taken from the place where they lived, or a family that previously lived there.

I believe that atte Crouch means "holder of the the land of Cross" - atte is extemely common in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries (having replaced "de la"), but during the fourteenth century it was replaced by 'er' added to the end of the name, and hence Croucher. This process occured with many other names.

Fines of Farnham Manor

The following was written by Mr Phillip Brookes in 1975 (he taught himself Norman French in order to understand the Winchester Pipe Rolls).

"The family first appears by name in the Pipe Rolls. These are the records of the Bishop of Winchester's Manors. The Tything of Churt is part of the Manor of Farnham. The Rolls start in 1210 and extend over some 500 years. The family is first described as 'atte Cruce'. Later forms are Cruche, Crouch and finally Croucher. By 1294 William atte Cruce holds a messuage and virgate of land. During the next 50 years Agatha atte Crouch and Henry atte Croucher pay dues for land. There appears to be a break after the Black Death in 1349 until 1450 when John Crouch is in default for land called 'Hollands'. This may have been the family land as it is mentioned indirectly one hundred years earlier."

"Atte Cruce" may come from the latin "attendere", the root of the word "attend", and from the Old English "cruc" derived from the latin "crucis". However in the 1300s "atte" was very common, and used for everyone who legally occupied land. Hence William atte Cruce could mean William of the land called Cruce.

Over the next 20 years more detailed information became available. The following are extracted from Churt: A Medieval Landscape by Phillip Brookes 2000. They show the development of the name in more detail. These fines apply to a property in Churt originally called Crouche, then Tounsend (or Townsend) after William Tounsend the Younger who held it in 1363, later called Wheeler (in the 1600s), and called Greencross or Green Cross afterwards. The names Tounsend and Wheeler obviously come from the owners, but why Greencross? The Green comes from Green Lane, the road that ran along the southern edge of Churt. It runs past Green Farm, occupied by Julia, wife of William atte Grene in 1359. Green Cross was a small hamlet consisting of Greencross, Greencroft, Greencross Farm, and at least one other house. The name does not appear before 1600, but very few place names are mentioned before that date (place names are somewhat redundant when there are no signposts). Was there a cross here much earlier, and is there any connection with Croucher? It is not clear whether the last name of a person came from the place, or the place from the person's name.

The relevant entries for Tounsend are
prior to 1308 (no date) John de Cruce for messuage and virgate from his father William atte Cruce, also known as William in la Cloures - 13/4d.
1308 Joan widow of John de Cruche for the same from her husband since widowhood -13/4d
1312 Alice daughter of John Cruche for the same from her father - 13/4d
1341 Joan daughter of John atte Crouche for the same from her father - 13/4d
1341 Richard Chisman for Joan and her land - no amount
1344 Joan atte Crouch for 1 acre from Robert atte Holeland - 12d
1344 Richard atte Crouche for Joan and her land - 12d
1349 Richard atte Croucher for messuage and virgate: default of rent due 8/4d but not paid
1350 Richard atte Croucher rent due 4/2d, paid at Easter but then gave up tenency

The following applies to the Ridgeway, Churt
1310 Matilda daughter of William atte Crouch for half virgate surrendered by Richard atte Rygweye on condition
that a house be built before next Michaelmas - no amount (but see SN4086).

The following default applies to Stock Farm, Churt
1447 toft and half virgate formally of John Croucher called Hollands: rent due 4/2d

A De Johanne ate Cruche is mentioned in the 1332 Lay Subsidy for Churt where he paid xxijd.

SN4086 Peasant Land Market in Southern England, 1260-1350

This is a relational database containing information from the Winchester Pipe Rolls, and has several relevant entries, some of which are similar to those listed above. However there are errors of identification in the data, one person (for example number 257), being several different people with the same name. The entries are listed below in chronological order. In all cases the amount of land involved is small, and it is very unlikely that the same family would occupy such small amounts in over such a wide geographic area. Hence it appears that there were several Croucher families in Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Kent by 1300 (well before the Black Death). Note there is a descrepency of a year between the dates because Phillip Brookes gives the actual dates while SN4086 gives the Pipe Roll dates.

1285 East Meon, Hampshire: Stephen atte Crouch' paid 4/- for 2 acres previous held by Cecilia la Webbe, the widowed mother of Stephen's wife.
1292 Farnham, Surrey: Walter atte Cruch' paid 2/- for half a virgate on the demise of his wife Juliana atte Cruche.
1293 Farnham, Surrey: John Cruch' paid 6d for the marriage of his daughter, Alice Cruche
1293 Havant, Hampshire: Robert and Evelina le Scut (Scott) paid 6/8d for a croft containing 3 acres previously held by her father Reginald Croch (Crouch).
1302 Highclere, Hampshire: John atte Cruch' paid 2/- for a "shilling of purpresture" "beside the wasslo's" previously owned by Simon Drywood (Drywod') and John Thurmer (Thorm'e).
1302 Staplegrove, Somerset: Gilbert atte Cruche paid 1/- in regard to marriage to Agnes Parson (P'sone), daughter of a widow (Matilda Parson?) at Staplegrove (the only Staplegrove I can find is near Taunton).
1305 Hambledon, Surrey: William Walter' paid 3/4 for a messuage and half a virgate following the resignation of the previous owner Walter atte Cruch'.
1305 Hambledon, Surrey: Alice atte Cruch' paid 3/4 for the surrender of a messuage and half a virgate previously held by William Waltere.
1306 Bishops Waltham, Hampshire: Amy atte Cruch' paid 13/4 for a ferling previously held by William atte Cruche (no relationship given).
1307 Bishops Waltham, Hampshire: Richard Godeknight (Goodknight) paid 3/4 for the surrender of a tenement and ferling in Aschtone (Ashton) previously held by Amy atte Cruche.
1309 Bishops Waltham, Hampshire: Robert atte Cruch', son of Richard Goudeknycgt (Goodknight) paid 4/- for a messuage and ferling previously held by Robert atte Crouch'.
1309 Waltham St Lawrence, Berkshire: John atte Cruch' de Walth'm, son of John, paid 2/- for the surrender of half an acre of purpresture previous held by Roger Abrah'm.
1309 Twyford, Hampshire: Henry atte Crouche paid 20/- for the inheritance of a messuage and virgate from his father John atte Crouch'.
1311 Farnham,Surrey: Matilda atte Crouch', daughter of William, paid 6/8d for the surrender of half a virgate in Churt previously held by John atte Rygweye (Ridgeway) on condition that she builds the house before Michaelmas.
1313 Farnham, Surrey: Alice atte Cruche, daughter of John, paid 13/4d for a messuage and virgate previously held by her father.
1313 Woodhay, Berkshire: Alice atte Crouche paid 2/- for the surrender of 3 pennysworth of purpresture in Wydehay (now either East or West Woodhay 6 miles SW of Newbury) previously held by William ate Dell.
1313 Bishops Waltham, Hampshire: Nigel ate Cruche paid 6/8d for a messuage and one third of a ferling in Uph'm (Upham) previously held by his father Geoffrey ate Cruche
1314 Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire: John atte Crouych paid 2/- for marriage within as the father of the bride Agnes atte Crouch daughter of John.
1314 Bishops Sutton, Hampshire: Walter atte Crouche paid 2/- for the marriage without of his daughter Isabella Crouch.
1314 Ashmansworth, Hampshire: Agnes atte Crouche paid 12d for the marriage within of her daughter Alice as owner of 2 acres and 10 perches of demesne.
1315 Twyford, Hampshire: Henry atte Crouche is a neighbour in the exchange of two and a half acres between William atte Wode and Walter Wodelok' who paid 6d.
1316 Bishops Sutton, Hampshire: Margery atte Crouch', daughter of Emma, paid 6/8d for a messuage and an acre in Sutton', previously held by her sister Felicia, and another 6/8d for the same in marriage to Adam le Lom'e (Lomer).
1317 Merdon, Hampshire: William de Lynacre paid 2/- for the surrender of 1 acre purpresture previously held by Henry atte Crouch'.
1317 Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire: Stephen atte Felde son of Henry paid 3/- for the surrender of half acre of purpresture previously held by John atte Crouch' the Younger.
1318 Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire: Hamo Bythewoude (Bythewood) paid 6/8 for the surrender of one and a half acres in Walth'm, previous held by at Crouch' (identified as Walter atte Crouch).
1319 Hambledon, Surrey: Thomas Jolyf (Jolliff) paid 10/- for the surrender of a messuage and half virgate in Hameldon' previously held by Alice atte Cruch'.
1319 Bishops Waltham, Hampshire: Alice atte Crouche' paid 10/- to retain a messuage and one third of a ferling in Uph'm (Upham) previously held by her deceased husband Nigel.
1326 East Meon, Hampshire: Matilda Crouch' paid 13/4d to retain a messuage and 5 acres in Langerissh' (Langrish) held by her deceased husband John atte Crouch'.
1327 East Meon, Hampshire: Robert atte Crouche, son of Stephen, paid 20/- on marriage for a messuage and virgate in Bordean (Bordon?) held by his wife Juliana Fuggescombe.
1327 East Meon, Hampshire: Thomas Bordon' (Bordean) paid 13/4d for the surrender of 10 acres in Upbordone (Upper Bordean) previously held by Richard atte Crouche.
1327 Bentley, Hampshire: Joan atte Croche (widowed wife of Robert) paid 20/- to retain a messuage and virgate in Benteleye previously held by her husband.
1330 Bentley, Hampshire: John atte Croch paid 13/4d for a messuage and virgate in Benetlye previously held by Robert atte Croche.
1332 Culham, Oxfordshire?: Hugh atte Crouych paid 13/4d for a messuage and half a virgate in Culh'm (Culham) previously held by his brother Geoffrey atte Crouych.
1332 Downton, Wiltshire: Elias atte Crouche paid 3/4d for the marriage within of his daughter Isabella Crouch.
1333 Downton, Wiltshire: Elias atte Crouche paid 12d for the marriage within of his daughter Matilda Crouch.
1337 East Meon, Hampshire: John atte Crouch' paid 6/8d for messuage and 3 acres in Langerrush' (Langrish) previously held by his father Stephen atte Crouche.
1337 Farnham, Surrey: Henry atte Crouche paid 6/8d for the surrender of messuage and virgate and 2 acres in Churt previously held by John Marenyer (Mariner).
1338 Twyford, Hampshire: John Crouche paid 2/- for marriage, house and curtilage, containing all 1 rood in Heuelestyng to Ellen Moysant'.
1340 Culham, Oxfordshire?: Joan atte Crouch' paid 5/- for a messuage and half a virgate of villein land in Culh'm (Culham) previously held by her deceased husband, Hugh atte Crouch'.
1340 Downton, Wiltshire: Elias atte Crouche of Wyke (Wick) paid 2/- for the marriage of his daughter Christina.
1341 Farnham, Surrey: Agnes atte Crouche, daughter of William, paid 6d for a plot, 12 perches long and 3 perches wide, to be held for her life in Compton previously held Rose le Baker', daughter of John (who appears to have paid 6d for the same plot - plot of Lord's waste in Compton 12 perches long and 3 wide in Compton - in the same year).
1342 Farnham, Surrey: Joan atte Crouch' paid 13/4d for a messuage and virgate in Churt, previous held by her father John.
1342 Farnham, Surrey: Richard le Chesmon (Cheeseman) paid 13/4d for messuage and virgate to have in marriage to Joan atte Crouch'.
1342 Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire: Thomas Lock' paid 2/- for the surrender of a cottage and 1 plot of purpresture containing in all an acre in Walth'm previously held by Simon atte Crouche.
1342 Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire: Simon atte Crouche and Joan Crouche, wife of Simon, paid 3/4d for the surrender of a cottage and 1 plot of purpresture containing in all an acre in Walth'm previously held by Thomas Lok'.
1343 Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire: Alexander atte Crouche paid 5/- for the surrender of one and ha half acres purpresture in Walth'm previously held by John le Soutere (Soutar), son of John.
1344 East Meon, Hampshire: John le Crouch'e paid 3/4 for the surrender of a messuage and 2 day-works? in Froxefeld' (Froxfield) previously owned by John le Tournour (Turner).
1344 Waltham St Lawrence, Berkshire: John atte Crouch' paid 18d for a plot 5 perches long and 2 and a half perches wide in Walth'm previously held by his kin Simon atte Crouch'.
1344 Waltham St Lawrence, Berkshire: Simon atte Crouche paid 3/4d for the surrender of a plot 6 perches long and 2 and a half perches wide in Walth'm, previously held by Christina le Palmer'. (Was Christina related to Isabella?)
1344 Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire: Simon de Dukhurst (Simon Duckhurst) paid 3/- for the surrender of a croft containing two acres in Walth'm previously held by William atte Crouch'.
1344 Farnham, Surrey: Agnes atte Cruch' paid 12d for the surrender of a cottage and curtilage in Crompton', previously held by Wymark Wyttok' (Whittock).
1345 Farnham, Surrey: Joan atte Crouch' paid 12d for 1 acre of moor purpresture in Ellested' (Elstead) previous held by her kin Robert atte Holehond (Holland) (MS 'consanguinei').
1345 Farnham, Surrey: Richard atte Crouche paid 12d for 1 acre of moor purpresture in Ellested' (Elstead) to have in marriage to Joan atte Crouche.
1345 East Meon, Hampshire: Alice atte Crouche paid 6/8d to retain messuage and 3 acres in Langrisshe (Langrish) as widow of John.
1345: Downton, Wiltshire: John atte Crouche, son of Elias, paid 2/- to be able to dwell and serve outside the lord's liberty as long as it pleases the lord and come to the 2 law-days for the year and remain the lord's villein as before.
1346 Waltham St Lawrence, Berkshire: Richard Stebbe (Stuppe) paid 3/4d for surrender of a plot of curtilage 5 perches long and 3 perches wide, in Walth'm previous held by John atte Crouch' his father.
1347 Farnham, Surrey: Agnes atte Cruch', daughter of Agnes, paid 6d to hold a plot in the Lord's waste in Compton', 4 perches, and 2 perches wide.
1347 Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire: John atte Cruche paid 66/8d (it also says 800d which implies this is correct and not 6/8d) for a messuage and virgate of villein land and 1 cottage and curtilage of purpresture in Walth'm previously held by his mother Christina atte Cruch'.
1347 Culham, Oxfordshire?: Thomas atte Cruch paid 6/8 for a messuage and half a virgate of villein land in Culham (Culh'm), which his mother Joan atte Cruch' held and forfeited because she was married (nupta) without licence. The land was previous held by Hugh atte Cruch'.
1347 Bishops Sutton, Hampshire: John atte Crouche, son of Thomas, paid 15/- to hold a messuage and half a virgate of villein land in Sutton' previously held by his father.
1348 East Meon, Hampshire: Alice Crouch'e paid 5/- to retain a cottage and curtilage in Foxfeld (Froxfield) as widow of John.
1348 Farnham, Surrey: William le Hattere (Hatter) paid 2/6d for the surrender of one acre of moor purpresture previously held by Richard atte Cruch' and his wife Joan atte Cruch' (examined about this in court).
1348 Farnham, Surrey: Juliana atte Cruch', daughter of Agnes, paid 3/- for the surrender of two cottages in Compton', previously held by Henry le Grou'e (Grover).
1348 Bishops Waltham, Hampshire: John atte Halle (Hall) paid 6/8d for the surrender of one acre purpresture previously held by Thomas atte Cruch, and 12d for the heriot of Thomas.
1349 Bentley, Hampshire: John atte Crouch paid 3/4d for a cottage and curtilage previous held by Wonnyng' atte Slade (John Wonning).
1349 Farnham, Surrey: John atte Crouche paid 4/- for 1 toft and 8 acres of villein land and half a rood of purpresture in Dogflood (Dogoflod') previous held by his mother Joan atte Crouch'.
1349 Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire: John atte Crouche paid 4/- for a messuage and virgate of villein land in Walth'm previously held by his father John Crouch'.
1349 Waltham St. Lawrence, Berkshire: John atte Crouch' paid 5/- for a messuage and 3 acres and 1 rood of purpresture in Walth'm previous held by his uncle Alexander atte Crouch'.
1349 Walthan St. Lawrence, Berkshire: Richard Berry (atte Bury) paid 4/- for the surrender of shilling of purpresture in Walth'm previous held by his father John atte Crouch'.
1349 Bishops Waltham, Hampshire: Thomas atte Crouch' paid 3/4 for a messuage and half a ferling of villein land in Assthon (Ashton), previously held by his grandfather Richard atte Crouch'.
1349 Bishops Waltham, Hampshire: Adam atte Crouche' paid 5/- for a cottage and one plot 30 feet long and 32 feet wide in the market of Walth'm, previous owned by Richard de Whitele (Whiteley) and formerly by Alice atte Lanende (Lanend).
1349 East Meon, Hampshire: Richard Manclark paid 5/- for the surrender of all 2 acres 1 rood in Frox' (Froxfield) previously held by Richard atte Crouche.
1349 East Meon, Hampshire: William atte Crouch' (chaplain) paid 5/- for the surrender of a cttage in Meon' previous held by Alexander Banne.
1349 East Meon, Hampshire: William atte Crouch' (chaplain) paid 3d for 30 ft long and 2 ft wide of the King's highway, in Meon' beside his cottage to enlarge the same.
1349 Downton, Wiltshire: William atte Crouche paid 53/4d for a messuage and virgate of villein land in Wyke (Wick) previously held by his father Elias.
1349 Culham, Oxfordshire?: John atte Fe'nns (Fane) paid 5/- for a messuage and half a virgate of villein land previously held by Hugh atte Crouch' in Culham (Culh'm), which Joan, wife of John, held in widowhood and which came into the lord's hands as an escheat from a want of kin; postm
.

Other Early References

A William Croucher who died in 1489 left twopence each to the eight of the St Mary of the High Cross of St John the Baptist and of St Clement (1487), and asked for permission to be buried before the Altar of St Catherine of Waverley (1489) - Medieval Farnham by Father Robo.

A John Croucher (Crucher) was a dean in Chichester in the first half of the 1400's, showing that the name was already established on the south coast.

The 16th and 17th Centuries

There are several records for the 1500s at Farnham to the Crowcher name from Richard Crowcher christened 31 January 1556/7 to Jone Crowcher who married Robert Curtis on 21 December 1581. However there are no parents given so it is impossible to be sure of the lines of descent. There are also a couple of references to Croucher during the same period - a John Croucher christened 9 April 1574 had as his father John Croucher. There was also a family living in Fittleworth, Sussex,and another north of Chichester.

There is a lack of data for the 1600s - civil wars not helping (many children were not christened during this period and other records were lost). In Farnham just Mary Croucher who married John Haward on 2 February 1689. The first Croucher christened at Froyle was Elizabeth in 1698. The first Croucher in the Frensham Records is John in 1756. Some records were lost in a fire at the vicarage in 1895. The church at Churt was not consecrated until 1868 so there are no records before then.

My earliest record of my branch of the family is Thomas Croucher who was living between Farnham, Surrey and Alton, Hampshire around 1700. If anyone has any additional information on the above I would be very interested to receive it.

Other Areas

Although not common, the Croucher name does occur throughout the SE counties of Hampshire (east), Surrey, West and East Sussex, and Kent (west). There is a hamlet called Crouchers Bottom just south of Chichester in West Sussex. Crouch House Farm and Green are near Edenbridge in Kent. Stow's Survey of London 1598 refers to the House of the Crouched Friars founded in 1298 and burnt in 1575 where Crutched Friars now runs (just south of Fenchurch Street station). There are several other similar names in London - for example Crouch End in N8 and Croucher Road in N10. Crouch Avenue in Barking, Crouch Close in Beckenham, Crouch Croft in New Eltham, Crouchmans Close in Upper Syndenham are all in SE London. Futher afield there is Crouch Hill in Dorset, and Croucheston in Wiltshire. There is also the River Crouch in Essex where there is one of the first references to the name.

It is not clear whether the Crouchers came from one origin or developed independently. The name is old enough for the family to have divided fairly early on (perhaps around the Black Death which reached Churt in 1348 and by 1350 had left 52 farms in Farnham Manor deserted - peasants started to leave their lords and masters without permission). There are relatively few Crouchers elsewhere in the UK outside of the south east (ignoring the recent mobility). I would be extremely interested in other references to the name prior to 1350.

The name appears to be common in Australia and New Zealand, and on the east of the USA and Canada. There is a reference to an Anne Croucher born or christened 24th January 1751/52 in North Farnham Parish, Virginia. Is this a coincidence? Farnham Virginia seems to have been formed in either 1663 or 1683, and the Old Farnham Church dates from 1737. I have seen a couple of entries for Crouchers in several telephone directories in different American cities. Again if anyone has any additional information, please send it to me and I will update this.

Family Members

Any additional information on or correction to any of the entries here or any additional related entries will be most welcome.

Index to the Croucher family tree

Area Covered

The main area covered is centred on Frensham/Churt which are on the Surrey/Hampshire border some 40 miles south east of central London. It corresponds to the old Fearnhamme Hundred in 964AD from Fleet in the north to Haslemere on the Sussex border in the south, plus surrounding villages (Puttenham, Thursley, Bramshott, Headley, Binstead, Froyle and Crondall), and the town of Alton. However expanded to cover the Manor of Winchester, and Crouchers born in Surrey or lived in Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, and those that moved from there to other parts of the world. This is still under development.

Links

General

Cyndi's List is a comprehensive directory of genealogical sites.

Family Search is a very comprehensive site from Church of the Latterday Saints, containing the IGI (International Genealogical Index) - however note that the IGI is not complete by any means (for example there are no records for Churt), it is difficult (and largely guesswork) linking entries together, and there are (virtually) no entries for deaths. It does contain some 3500 entries for Croucher in England, the majority in the south east of England. While most are extracts from the registers, some entries have been submitted, and because these appear to be less reliable (more mistakes), I have started indicating the latter. There are various ways in which the index can be used. For example entry the father's full name and mother's first name will locate children of those parents, but unfortunately no other search limiting information can be added (such as years). It also cannot be used to find children if only the father's name is entered although this can be done in the batch number and country is known. The batch numbers can be obtained Hugh Wallis's site or by finding one member of the family and then clicking on the batch number. Also selecting specifically the IGI rather than the general search allows individually UK counties to be searched which is useful for names with lots of entries. The general search also includes the The Ancestral File , Pedigree Resource File and the 1880/1881 censuses (England and Wales, USA and Canada). The first two are submitted entries. The Pedegree Resource file is linked back to early generations only, while the Ancestral File is linked forwards and backwards. The site had a new user interface in early 2012 which I find makes it much more difficult to find the records you want.

Ancestry is the my main source of information, especially after 1837. It contains both free and subscription only databases. There is an index to Births, Deaths and Marriages from 1837 to 1984. This is based on the one in FreeBMD up to 1915, but I have found minor differences between them (probably as a result of corrections). As well as the index most of the originals from 1837 to 1984 are stored as images (although there are gaps and some are not so legible as those on other databases such as FindMyPast). Note that these entries are not the complete records but just a paper index. There is a computerised index from 1984-2004. These give sufficient information to order a copy of the original entry (about 7) which gives the full information. Ancestry also has indexes to as well as the originals of the England and Wales Censuses from 1841 to 1911 (the 1881 index is the same as the one on FamilySearch. Ancestry also allows the index to be corrected, and maiden names to be added. The Scottish censuses are also available, but as the originals are not available more information is in the index. Ancestry has the UK telephone directories and some electoral registers. There are numerous other databases including entries from the UK and Ireland Parish and Probate Records and the Pallot Marriage Index. There are also databases for Australia and New Zealand, and of course the United States. I have found it good value.

Rootsweb WordConnect mission is simple - to provide a resource which can connect the family trees of everyone in the world. It is supported by Ancestry who have at least four databases with the same concept: Ancestry WorldTree which is the same as RootsWeb WorldConnect, OneWorldTree, Public Member Tree and Personal Member Tree.

SurnameWeb is an index into other sites.

Family Tree Searcher - Find Family Trees Easily
Enter your ancestor information just once to search for family trees at multiple online genealogy databases.

Genealogy: Advice for Effective Searches
Answer a series of simple questions and get free, customized advice on the most effective next steps for searching your ancestors.

Free Family Tree Template provides templates in PDF form. These free forms can be used to create your own personal family tree.

And you can also try this search engine.

ABCgenealogy

Another useful site is The Parish Chest, the premier online family history and genealogical shop. Here you can buy just about everything to help you trace your ancestors and build your family tree. Forget about fighting your way through the crowds and sore, aching feet. Shop in complete comfort without ever leaving your armchair.

UK

I have done some notes on likely lists of names including the census.

There are three UK specific free databases which are part of the FreeUKGen project. The first is FreeBMD which will provide an computerised index to the Births, Marriages and Deaths Index for England and Wales (not Scotland). Most years up to 1960 are just about complete and there are now entries beyond. Note however that some of the originals are virtually illegible (including some of the typed ones). Corrections can be submitted. The information in the index depends on the type of entry and its date. For example early death entries did not contain the age (before 1866), later ones do, and the most recent also contain the date of birth (after 1969). In particular the marriage index does not list information for the married couple, but seperate information for each party. The fact that a man and a woman appear on the same page does not necessarily mean they married each other - there can be four or more people per page. Later entries give the surname of the other partner which is a real aid. In general a copy of the entry is required which costs about 7.

The second database is FreeCEN which is a free index to the UK censuses 1841-1891 but its coverage is extremely patchy. I have found it most useful for the 1841 Scottish census.

The third database is FreeReg which will contain entries from Church Records - it has relatively few entries at the moment.

Registration Districts in England and Wales (1837-2012) gives the registration county of each of the registration districts (note that registration counties are not quite the same as the historic counties), the period for which the district existed, the preceeding and succeeding districts (some changed a lot), the sub-disticts and the parishes included in the district. There is a separate an Index of Place-Names which lists parishes alphbetically and the registration district to which they belong.

Access to Archives database contains catalogues of archives held across England and dating from the 900s to the present day. There are some 60 references to Croucher.

FamilyHistoryOnline Currently holds some 53 million records that you can search. They include indexes (or fuller details of the entries) for baptisms, marriages, burials, monumental inscriptions, and census returns. It publishs on-line records compiled by Family History Societies - quality data from experienced researchers with local knowledge providing more accurate details at fees that give value for money. However it is patchy with very little information for Surrey.

Freesurnamesearch is a useful list of UK sites.

The genuki is very useful general site, see especially "A-Z of British Genealogical Research" by Dr Ashton Emery, and "The Newbies' Guide to Genealogy & Family History" by Roy Stockdill. It lists information by county and gives lots of useful background information.

The County Surnames site provides references to other sites or people who are researching specific surnames. These are listed by county.

The index to the 1871 census is at Ancestry. There is an annual subscription.

The index to the 1881 census is at FamilySearch, and this gives information on households. There is no access to the original records. This index is also available at Ancestry for subscription, but this does give access to the originals.

There are two indexes to the 1891 census. There is a free but very incomplete index at RootWeb, and a complete but chargable one at Ancestry. The former also indexes households, but the latter only provides images. It also has many errors in its index.

The 1901 census is available at the National Archives. The index is free, but there is a charge to access records. Note that when searching for Hampshire entries, Hampshire and Hants return different sets of records so both should be tried. There is also an index at Ancestry which is included in the standard UK subscription.

The 1911 census is available at the National Archives. The index is free, but there is a charge to access records.

Surrey

The Surrey History Service collects and preserves archives and printed material relating to all aspects of the history of Surrey, and makes them available for reference, and includes information on genealogy. The Farnham records go back to 1539, Frensham to 1650 and Churt to 1868.

West Surrey Family History Society publishes fiches and CDs of births, deaths and marriages plus the 1851 census.

Hampshire

GenUKI has information on Hampshire in general, and the addresses of Phillimores Indexes (covering the 15th to 19th centuries) in particular. The following is extracted from Volume 1.
"These files provide an index to the names in Phillimores Hampshire marriage registers that are located at the Wellington City Council library, (NZ). There are 16 volumes in the Hampshire series. The volumes were printed around 1900 and were a limited edition of 150 copies and it appears that few complete sets still exist. A set of 16 fiche that covers all 16 volumes is available from the Hampshire Records Office, Sussex Street, Winchester, Hampshire, England, SO23 8TH. These are in the same format as the books, that is by parish, then in date order, not sorted alphabetically. The indexes are stored as Zip files. It should be noted than when these books were prepared around 1900 from the original parish records a number of those records were missing and particularly in the early entries, some of the details were illegible. Also the books notes that there have been instances of the original records having been tampered with. It is possible for errors to have been made at each stage including the original registers as there are a number of comments by later vicars regarding the quality of some of the early entries."
The following volumes are of interest:
Volume 1 includes Bramley
Volume 2 includes Aldershot
Volume 3 includes Farnborough and Hartley Witney
Volume 4 includes Crondall
Volume 9 includes Bentley

Hampshire Family and Local History also contains a useful list of links.

Local

Headley which is just across the border from Churt, has an excellent site including listings from the 1841/1851 (by household), 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 census, plus burials 1539-1901 and a list of gravestone inscriptions. Barford is on the border of Churt and is often locally refered to as part of Churt. Headly Marriages is another useful site.

Froyle is another excellent site with christenings, marriages, and burials, plus the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 census.

Notes

Bondland - land held by a manorial tenent with the obligation to perform services for the lord (known as bondwork). Unless stated otherwise, all the above fines were in regard to bondland.
Cloures - clouer is French for "to nail, fix or detain". If this is the origin, then there is no connection with crosses.[Back]
Curtilage - the courtyard attached to a dwelling-house.[Back]
Demesne - land held directly by the lord which required tenants to give unpaid services according to custom. These services were for a fixed number of days, but could be extended if required to complete the task, it then being known as boonwork.[Back]
Escheat - falls to the feudal lord for want of an heir or by forfeiture. [Back].
Ferling- a quarter of a parcel of land (in London it was called a "ferlinge" or "ferlyng" (1381); in Hampshire it was called a "ferling" (1236); in Devonshire it was called a "ferthedel" (1204), or "ferling", "ferting", and "ferding" (1086); in Somerset it was called a "ferding" and "ferling" (1086), and "ferling" (1332); in Huntingdon it was a called a "ferlingel" (1086); the Manx called it a "farling" and the Irish called it a "feoirling") [Back].
Fines - these were paid to the bishop whenever ownership of a property changed (including inheritance after death). [Back]
Greencross - Interestingly my grandfather and father built their houses within a quarter of a mile of Greencross some 600 years later. [Back]
Greencross - Phillip Brookes describes Green Cross as "what remains of a typical West Surrey hamlet. The extent of the commons made any large farming area impossible, resulting in a series of hamlets made up of three or four houses where virgates met at road junctions; in this case Greencroft, Greencross, The Toft, and the house of Greencross Farm (now demolished). The Tounsend virgate was on the east side of Greencross Lane [and north of Green Lane]. This house [Greencross] was of three bays with a central smoke bay. The well on the east side of Greencross, discovered in alterations to the house, was found to be over 100 ft deep and stone-lined." Back
Heriot - the fine paid to the bishop when a tenant died, originally the tenant's best beast or chattel, but later paid in money. [Back]
Hollands - Stock Farm had been held by the Holelonde or Holeland family from 1308 to 1357. The name comes from the Holeland which was the land at the bottom - in this case at the bottom of the Devil's Punchbowl.[Back]
Purpresture - secondary quality land not subject to the obligations placed on bondland, and which therefore could be exchanged more freely. [Back]
13/4d - 13 shillings and 4 pence or 0.67 pounds. [Back]
Acre - this would be a customary acre which in Farnham Manor was about half a modern acre (see Winchester Yields by JZ Titow 1972). [Back]
12d - 12 pence or one shilling, 0.05 pounds. [Back]
Messuage - a dwelling house and legal rights such as access to commons etc. [Back]
Tenement - a dwelling held by tenure and occupied by a family [Back].
Toft - the land once occupied by a dwelling house. [Back]
Rood - quarter of an acre.[back]
Lay Subsidy - taxation list. This was written in the order of the farms visited, the previous entry being for Roberto le Cartere who has fines for Stock Farm in 1292 and 1352. The following six entries cannot be associated with specific farms, but the next is De Willelmo ate Townsends who in 1348 paid a fine for Greencroft which is just across the road from Greencross. Thus this entry could well refer to Greencross. Equally well, it could apply to any farm along Green Lane between Stock Farm and Green Cross. However there were only two and Croucher is not associated with either. [Back]
Perch is the same as 5.5 yards or 16.5 feet [back]
Pipe Rolls - medieval accounts for the bishopric estates, written on skins which were rolled up and stored in a tube or "pipe". Unfortunately 14 from the years from 1244 to 1320 have disappeared from the Winchester records. A relational data base of the records from "SN4086 - Peasant Land Market in Southern England, 1260-1350" by M Page can be found at University of Essex. I am currently going through this data extracting the relevant entries. The entries relevant to Headley (which was part of Sutton Manor can be found on John Owen's site. These cover the period 1210 to 1670, but there are no references to Crouchers. [Back]
Virgate - the Farnham Manor virgate was about 32 modern acres - see Medieval Farnham by Father (Etienne) Robo 1935. It is a quarter of a hide.[Back]
xxijd - 22 pence in roman numerals (treat the "j" as an "i" - when used for financial values the final "i" was written as a "j" to stop any additional "i"s susequently being added to the end, and the "d" stands for pence), 0.09 pounds. [Back]