Recorded in several spellings including: Greave, Greeve, Grieve, Greaves, Greeves, and Greves, this is an English surname. It is either locational from the former hamlet of Greaves in the parish of Preston, Lancashire, or it is topographical from residence by a thicket or grove of trees. The word and hence the surname, derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "graefe" meaning brushwood, and is first recorded at the beginning of the 13th Century. Locational surnames are usually "from" names. These were names given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else, as an easy means of identification. Spelling being at best erratic and local accents very thick, soon lead the developments of "sounds like" spellings. In this case early examples of the surname recordings include: Walter en le Greve in the pipe rolls of the county of Staffordshire in the year 1210, Richard del Greves in the Assize Court register for Lancashire in 1246, and Adam del Grefes in the manorial roll for the city of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1314. Other recordings include May, the daughter of John Greaves, who is given as being a pewterer, christened at St. Dionis Backchurch, in the city of London in 1610. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de la Greue. This was dated 1203, in the "Pipe Rolls" of Leicestershire, during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland" 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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