This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from either of two places in Lancashire, both called "Greenhalgh". The placenames are derived from the Old English pre 7th century "grene", green and "holh", hole, hollow, depression, thus green hollow. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The placenames were first recorded as "Greneholf", in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Grenhole" in the Book of Fees of 1212. However, after the 13th century the spelling of the placename changed to resemble a different element "halh", found in northern England as "haugh", meaning a piece of flat alluvial land by the side of a river, or land in a corner formed by a bend. The modern surname can be found as Greenhalgh, Greenhalf, Greenhall, Greenall and Greenhaugh. An interesting namebearer was one John Greenhalgh (d.1651), who was a royalist and governor of the Isle of Man in 1640, he distinguished himself at Worcester and died of wounds. Examples of the recordings include Thomas, son of John and Margaret Greenall, was christened at Kirkham in Lancashire on January 19th 1621. Matillda de Grenehalgh in the Subsidy Rolls of 1332, and later Elizabeth Greenhalgh daughter of Thomas Greenhalgh was christened at Heywood on February 16th 1766. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Grenhal, which was dated 1230, in the Pipe Rolls of Shropshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "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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