Apparently recorded in many spellings which seem to include Gradon, Graddon, Gratton, Gredan, Gredden, Gredon, Greydon, Greeding, Gridon and Grodden, this interesting surname is English. As such it is or rather was, residential, and would seem to originate from a now "lost" medieval place called "Graet-dun" or similar, and meaning the Great Hill, or from any or all of the places now called Gratton, found in the counties of Staffordshire, Devonshire and Derbyshire. "Lost villages", of which the only reminder in the late 20th century is the surviving surname are a phenomena of the history of the British Isles, and it is estimated that at least three thousand current surnames do originate from such places. As to why they became "lost" has been the theme of many works, but generally it can be said that changes in farming methods and demand is the most likely, although the great plagues, the last being in 1665, the draining of the Fens, and even war, have played their parts. The first recording of the place name is probably that of Gratton in Devon which appears as Gretedone in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. The first surname recording is probably that of de Gratton, Other early recordings found in surviving church registers include those of Walter Graddon and Alse Windeyeate, who were married on July 10th 1598, at Barnstaple in Devon, Mary Greydon who was christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on January 10th 1686, whilst Rebecca Reddan was a witness at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on September 12th 1736. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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