There has been much speculation about the origin of
the name Metcalf . The original seat of the family was
in the North and Northwest part of Yorkshire, in Eng-
land. The name is found in the old records spelled
variously: Metkalff, Medcalffe, Mydcalfe, Medcalf, Mede-
calfe, Meitcalve, Medecafe, Metecalfe, and many others.
The name is still a very common one in Yorkshire,
where it was, and is yet sometimes pronounced "Mecca."
The traditions are that the early Metcalfs were as a race
unusually large, strong men. There is a familiar story
of the strong-armed hero who twisted the neck of a ferocious bull, and reported that he "Met a calf over there,"
and so was called the Man who Met a Calf, or the Met-calf.
In later times. Rev. B. E. Metcalf, Rector of Ferrybridge, Yorkshire, writes that he knew in Mukar,
Craven, Yorkshire, eight families of Metcalfs, one a father
and seven sons, and all very large men, over six feet tall.
Craven is an old Metcalf district in Yorkshire. Whittaker's ** History of Craven " derives the name Metcalf from
the old Saxon **Mechalgh," halgh meaning a tract of
land and Mechalgh, the Men of Mec's land.
Another derivation is perhaps more probable. There
are in Craven, twelve miles southeast of Dent, three hills, or a small mountain with three peaks, now called the
Pennegent hills, but long known as the Three Calves.
4 METCALF GENEALOGY
A. D. 1278 (Edward I.) it is recorded that Adam de
Medekalf , that is Adam of the Middle Calf, was killed
by one Steynebrigge in single combat. The prefix Mede
is derived from the German Mitte, Saxon Midd, English
Middle. This Adam of Metcalf in 1278, was the eighth
in descent from the original Dane Arkefrith, who came
to England in 10 16 with King Canute, who gave him
lands in Northwest Yorkshire, and made him ** Lord of
Dent, Sedburg and Askrigg,'* names still to be found
on the maps of Yorkshire.