Recorded in a number of forms including de Glanville, Glanville, Glanvill and Glanfield, this is a surname of pre 9th century French origins. It is locational from a place called Glanville in the department of Calvados in the former dukedom of Normandy. The first element is the word "gland" which literaly translates as acorn, but in this context may refer to a copse of young oaks trees, plus ville, which can refer to either a large house or a settlement. The surname is first recorded in England in the famous Domeday Book of 1086, the world first gazetter of land ownership, when Robert de Glanvill is shown to hold lands in the county of Suffolk. These were granted to him by William, The Conqueror, apparently in gratitude for his services. Other medieval recordings include such examples as: William de Glanvile in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1127, whilst Ranulf de Glanville who died in 1190, had a very illustrious career. He was the High Sheriff of Yorkshire from 1163 to 1170, and then Chief Justice of England until his death at Acre in the Holy Land. He was on crusade with King Richard 1st of England, known to history as "Lionheart". A later recording is that of Sir John Glanville (1542 - 1600), who it is claimed, was the first attorney to be appointed a judge in 1598. He sat on the bench of the Common Pleas, but his judgeship was of only a short duration. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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