My name is Alan Wayne Rateliff. My father Kenneth Earl Rateliff began researching our family history just prior to his death in 1997. I have since been able to verify many of the notes and information he left and have been able to update the family tree accordingly. In my own research I have been able to verify the origin of our surname, which is included below.
In 1066 Nicholas's Great-Grandfather Ivo de Taillbois (known as John Talbot in English and the progenitor of our family) left Normandy with William the Conqueror to invade England. For his services William awarded Ivo with large tracts of land in the area of Lancashire.
Ivo gave his grandson,Nicholas Fitz-Gilbert de Taillbois, the estate and manor at Radeclive, which was located near the Irwell River
The Origin of Our Name:
Nicholas then built the Radcliffe tower, a fortified structure located near the Irwell River. The town of Radeclive was then located in Lancashire, England (now in an area near Manchester). Owing to his desire to shed his “foreign” (French) connections Nicholas adopted the city's name as his surname, and became known as Nicholas de Radcliffe, meaning of/from Radcliffe. The town was so called because it was situated along the red sandstone banks (red cliffs) of the Irwell River.
Our name has changed in spelling (during my research, thus far, I have found 10 different spellings, each with its own pronunciation). I think that most variations came about through misspellings, and misunderstandings of the pronunciation. Regardless of the spelling each variation means the same "Red Cliffs".