This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has a number of possible interpretations, all deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "grene", green. The surname may be an example of the sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress and occupation. In this instance the nickname would have been given to someone who was fond of dressing in green, or who played the part of the "Green Man" in the May Day celebrations. The surname may also be a topographical name for someone who lived near a village green. Topographical names were some of the earliest names to be created, as topographical features, whether natural or man-made, provided obvious and convenient means of identification. The surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below), and can also be found as Green, Grene, Greenman and Greenmon. On October 8th 1580, Hugh Greening married Ursula Hill at St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield charged with a red cross engrailed, the Crest being a silver nag's head. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Grenyg, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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