Recorded as Griff, Griffe, Greif, Greiffe, Greive, Gryffe and others, this is an Olde English and Welsh surname. In origin it is pre 7th century name and is a short form of the Welsh personal name "Grippiud", the modern Griffith. The normal pronunciation of the name in South Wales became "Griffidd", and those medieval scribes who were not Welsh generally wrote Griff or Griffith as being the closest phonetic spelling within their writing system. The form as Griffith and the patronymic Griffiths came to be used almost universally, as forename and surname, throughout Wales. The first element of the name Griff, is of uncertain origin, but is thought to mean "strong grip", and when it occurs the second element "iudd" means chief or lord. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving rolls and registers of the post medieval period include: Marcella Griff who married Jhon Morreys at St Brides church, Fleet Street, in the city of London on February 10th 1587, Jone Gryffyth who is listed in the Suffolk Subsidy Rolls of 1524, and Mary Grief, who married Thomas Bendham at St Matthews, Bethnal Green, on March 18th 1771. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of David Gryttyth. This was dated 1295, in the records of the lordship of Oswestry, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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