This is an English locational surname. Its origins lie in the words 'col graef', which suggests a valley of coal, or more probably a valley or woods where charcoal was produced. Unfortunately although the surname is well recorded in the London area from the mid 17th century, we have no indication of where the original site or hamlet was situated. Charcoal was a nationally produced product and one which was particularly popular in the iron producing regions of Sussex and the West Midlands. Some five thousand villages have disappeared from the British and Irish landscape since the 14th century, the only reminder today being the surname, this we feel is one of them. Early examples of the surname recording include Jonathon Coldgrave, who was christened at St Ann's Blackfriars, London, on October 8th 1671, John Colegrave, christened at Bull Lane Independant Chapel, Stepney, on April 7th 1702, and Jane Colgrave, christened at the Mercers Hall Chapel, Cheapside, on November 6th 1727. The coat of arms has the blazon of a silver field charged with two bars between three pheons (arrow heads), all red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margaret Coulegrave, which was dated April 5th 1635, married at St Pancras church, London, during the reign of King Charles 1st, known as 'The martyr', 1625 - 1649. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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