Greenacre is a topographical surname of Olde English pre 10th century origins. It probably developed from some now lost place called "Grene-acer" or similar in the Lancashire area. Although the name would seem quite simple to translate, the meaning was probably quite different in medieval times. The word "green" would almost certainly not have referred to colour, after all most fields are green, but to a new area of reclaimed land. Considerable time was spent draining the Lanacashire flatlands in the 14th and 15th centuries, and "green" would have described the finished product. Likewise "acre" was not a strict land measurement, it may have described a considerable stretch, at least big enough to justify a surname! In fact "acre" is widely used as a suffix in Lancashire and clearly had a local meaning quite different from that of the rest of the country. Early recordings include Arthur Grenachar in the 1564 Oxford University Register of Entrants, it would seem that he had not qualified on spelling, whilst in the same year Alexander Grenacres, appears in the London City Register. The Coat of Arms is a red field charged with a gold engrailed saltire, suggesting one who suffered for his faith. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Grenacre, which was dated 1332, in the subsidy rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 111, know as "The father of the navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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