This unusual and interesting name has two possible origins. It may be of Anglo-Saxon origin and an occupational surname for a digger of ditches and graves, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century verb "grafan", to dig. A record of medieval inquests in Derbyshire contains the sad tale of one Piers le Graver who was killed by the collapse of the (coal)pit in which he was working by himself at Silkstone in that county in 1290. The modern surname may also be of French, (Norman) and Old English origin and again an occupational surname for an engraver or sculptor. The derivation is from the Old French "grave ur", also found in late Old English as "grafere", as in Robert le Orgraver (1308, Yorkshire), a gold engraver, and Adam le Selgraver (1332, London), an engraver of seals. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Grevere, which was dated 1275, The Worcestershire Subsidy Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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