Recorded as Grim, Grimm, Grime and Grimes, this is an English surname. It is however ultimately of Norse-Viking pre 7th century origins, and the derivation is probably from the personal name "Grimr", which appears in the Olde Danish and Olde Swedish as "Grim". It was very popular in those areas of England influenced by Scandinavian settlements, particularly the north western and eastern counties. The Norse word was equivalent to the Olde English "grima", meaning a mask, and was one of the names given to the god Woden. As such it may mean "masked person" or "shape-changer" and was given to male children to encourage the god's protection. Some modern name-bearers may also derive from the Olde English word "grim" meaning fierce, as in Peter le Grim of the county of Sussex in the Subsidy Rolls of the year 1327. The plural forms of the surname are patronymics, meaning "son of Grim". Other early recordings include those of Ellis Grymes recorded in London in 1552, and Katherine Grimes who was married to Thomas Burchill on the 20th September 1640 at Frodsham in Cheshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwin Grim. This was dated 1170, in the "Pipe Rolls" of the county of Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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