This is an English place name surname. It is locational from any of the various places called Greenfield. These all originate from the pre 7th century Olde English word "grene", meaning green and "feld", not a field but open pasture, or land cleared of forest, but not yet cultivated. This is the source for the following early recording of the surname. Peter de Grenefeld of the county of Suffolk in 1242. The second possible origin for the modern surname, also found as Grenfell, Greenfield, Grenville and Granville, is Norman-French. This is also locational but from places in Normandy called "Grainville". This is from the early Germanic and Franksish personal name "Guarin", meaning guard, and "ville", a farm or settlement, and then later a town. The register of the Freeman of the City of York records William de Grenfell in 1363. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gerard de Grenvill. This was was dated 1161, in the "Berkshire Pipe Rolls", during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England and known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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