Recorded in many forms including Greenstead, Greensted, Greenstad, Greenstate, Greenstolgh and Greenstock, this is an English surname. It is locattonal from either Greenstead, a village near Colchester in the county of Essex, or from Greensted another village in the same county, or from a now 'lost' medieval village which may have been called 'Gren-stoc' or similar. However if such a place ever existed, we have not been able to obtain any positive proof. What we do know is that as Greenstead, Greensted, and its variants, it is well recorded in the surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London as shown below, and that the spellings show the traditional move away from the original forms.These changes occured as the nameholders moved around the London region, with spelling over the centuries being at best indifferent, and local accents very thick, thus leading to 'sounds like' spellings. Greenstead is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Grenesteade', whilst Greensted appears as 'Gernesteda' in the same book, although both share the meaning of a 'green place'. Quite why somewhere should be described as 'green' when the whole countryside would then have been green is unclear. It may refer to an area which was specially prepared for grazing. Early examples of developing recordings include Jean Greensted at St Botolophs Bishopgate, on November 6th 1637, Sarah Greenstate at St Margarets Westminster, on August 27th 1647, and Henry Greenstolgh at St Botolphs without Aldgate, on May 1st 1705.
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