:METCALFE. MEDCALF. a great Yorkshire family. In the third year of Queen Mary, Sir Cliristopher Metcalfe met " the judges at York, attended on with three hundred horsemen, all of his own name and kindred, well mounted and suitably attired. The Roman Fabii, the most populous tribe in that city, could hardly have made so fair an appearance, insomuch that Master Camden gives the Metcalfes this character : Queb uumerosissima totius Anglite familia his temporibus censetur, (which at this time, viz., Anno 1607, is counted the most numerous family of England.) Here I forbear mentioning of another, which perchance might vie with them, lest casually I minister matter of contest." Fuller's AVorthies, iii. p. 455. The origin of the name (probably local) is unknown. Dr. Whitaker fancifully derives it from jrec, a Saxon baptismal name, and halgh, a low, watery, flat. Others consider it a compound of the Welsh Mccld, a mead, and caf, a cell or church. (Arthur.) Tradition, however, affords a much more easy explanation of it. One John Strong having seized a mad bull by the nostrils with his left hand, killed the beast with his right, and being afterwards questioned on the subject of his prowess, modestly declared that he had simply inet a calf. From that time he acquired the surname of Metcalf ! Another version of the story is that " two
Lower, Mark A (1860) Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom. London: J.R. Smith. Public Domain.