Recorded in the spellings of Grosvenor, Gravener, Gravenor, Gravinor, and possibly others, this surname is English but of medieval French origins. It is or was occupational. Deriving from the words 'gros veneur', meaning chief huntsman, a very high status in the Middle Ages, it is descriptive of the standing that nameholders have long held in the service of England. The first to make his mark was Sir Robert Grosvenor, who died in 1396. He saw military action in most of the great battles of the 14th century including Poitiers in 1356 and Limoge in 1370. To him was granted the coat of arms shown below. The Grosvenor's of Grosvenor Square, London, and Eaton Hall, Chester, were amongst the first baronets or hereditary barons to be created by King James 1st in 1611, with Richard Grosvenor, (1731 - 1802) being the seventh baronet and first Earl of Westminster. The Dukedom was granted in 1874 to Hugh Grosvenor, Master of the Queen's Horse, and aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria. Early church recordings include Richard Grosvenor, christened at St Mary Woolnoth on August 15th 1555, in the reign of Queen Mary 1st of England (1554 - 1558), and known to history as Bloody Mary, and Edward Gravener, christened at St Michaels Cornhill, also city of London, on March 12th 1556. The original coat of arms has the simple but elegant blazon of a blue field charged with a single gold garb. The crest is a gold talbot, the latter being a hunting dog. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Gros Venour. This was dated 1201, in the chartulary of Whalley Abbey, Lancashire, during the reign of King John, 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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