This is a famous Scottish surname which derives originally from the Barony of Lag, in Dumfriesshire. It is said that the Griersons trace their descent from Gilbert, the son of Malcolm, head of the Clan MacGregor. However there is no proof of this romantic story. It seems much more likely that the name is a patronymic derivative of the Olde English and Scottish "gerefa" translating as "Governor of the Area", although later meanings are more pragmatic in Farm Manager, Bailiff, or overseer. Either way the name implied as with the French and then English "Marshall" somebody who was in charge! This is our opinion having looked at the available evidence, and comparing this evidence with similar situations.What is certain is that the name has been around for a very long time.In 1429 there is the record of a land charter given to one Gilbert Grierson by Princess Margaret, daughter of Robert 111 of Scotland in April 1429. Other recordings include William Grereson who in 1451 was given a safe conduct pass to England, and Robert Greresone of Dumfries who was found not guilty of the murder of Sir John McBrare. In 1671 Andrew Grierson was factor to the Earl of Glencairn, whilst in 1704 the Griersons are described as "alias M'Gregors and well known papists". Sir Robert Grierson of Lag circa 1725 was a heroic figure in Sir Walter Scott's famous book "Redgauntlet". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Greresoun, which was dated 1411, The land charters of Dormont, Scotland, during the reign of King James 1 of Scotland, 1406 - 1437. 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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