This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an example of that 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 occupation or a variety of qualities, 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. In this instance, the name derives from the Middle English "grill(e)", fierce, cruel, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "gryllan", to gnash the teeth, rage, and the nickname would have been given to a supposedly cruel man. The final "s" indicates the patronymic form. John Grille is noted in the Inquisitions and Assessments relating to Feudal Aids, Suffolk (1346). In the modern idiom the name can be found as Grill, Grylls and Grills. Recordings of the surname from the Church Registers of Cornwall include: the marriage of Charles Grills and Annes Tubbe on September 6th 1572, at Warleggon, and the marriage of William Grills and Margaret Wills at Morwenstow, on January 25th 1596. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts three red bendlets enhanced on a gold shield, the Crest being a silver porcupine passant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Grylle, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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