This interesting name is a patronymic form of the surnames Grave, which is of Middle English origin, and is an occupational name for a steward, from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "greyve", itself derived from the Old Norse "greifi" and the Low German "greve". Grave was first used as a personal name, and the development of the name as such includes: Lefsi filius Greiue (1161 - 1177, Norfolk), Adam filius Graiue (1221, Cambridgeshire) and Greive de Pincebec (1232, Lincolnshire). The first recording of the patronymic form is of one Hugo Graves, in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York in 1540.Probably the most famous namebearer was Robert Graves (1895 - 1985), the English poet, novelist and critic, whose works include his World War 1 autobiography, "Goodbye to All That" (1929), and the historical novels. "I, Claudius" and "Claudius the God", both printed in 1934. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Greyue, which was dated 1255, Records of the Borough of Nottinghamshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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