Recorded in several quite distinct spellings as shown below, this interesting name is of pre 7th century Olde English origins. It is locational from either of two places in Lancashire, both called today "Greenhalgh" or a similarly named palce in Northumberland. The placenames are originally derived from "grene", meaning green, and "holh", a hollow or small valley, but these later divided to include suffix such as "halh" or hall, and "hus," a stone built house. 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. Over the centuries spelling being at best indifferent and localdialects very thick, lead as with this name, to the development of 'sounds like' spellings The placenames were first recorded as "Greneholf", in the Domesday Book of 1086, but after the 13th century the suffix of the placenames changed to "haugh", meaning a piece of flat alluvial land by the side of a river, and this change greatly effected the surname spelling. This can now be found as Greenhalgh, Greenhalf, Greenhall, Greenall, Greenhaugh, Greenhough, Greenus and Greenhouse. John Greenhalgh was the royalist governor of the Isle of Man in the Civil War of 1642 - 1660. He died of his wounds at the battle of Worcester in 1651. Examples of the recordings include Matillda de Grenehalgh in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire in 1332, Elizabeth Grenowes at St Dionis Backchurch in the city of London, on April 26th 1612, and Sarah Greenehouse who was christened at St Margarets Westminster, on April 1st 1623. 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. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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