This is a surname of English origins, which is recorded in many associated forms. These include Grimsdale, Grimsdell, Grinsdale, Grimsdike, Grimsdyke, Grimsditch, Grimsdith, Grimsell, and Grimstead. These are all locational or topographical from such places as the village of Grinsdale in the county of Cumberland, on the border with Scotland, and meaning "green valley", from the Olde English pre 7th century "gren-dael", or from Grimstead, villages in Wiltshire and Sussex, and meaning the green farm, or from Grim's Ditch also in Wiltshire, an ancient earthwork, which was also formerly a medieval village, or Grim's Dyke, also an ancient earthwork and former village, near Wallingford in Oxfordshire. Grinsdale is first recorded in the year 1188 as Grennesdale, and a century later in 1279 as Gremesdale, it is easy to see why the resulting surname itself has various spellings in which the letters "m" and "n" are almost interchangeable, whilst Grim's Ditch, from the Olde Norse-Viking name "Grimmr" is recorded as Grimesdiche as eary as 945 a.d. At this medieval time surnames were in the process of creation, and the language itself was beginning to enter the process which would lead to the creation some centuries later, of Standard English, more or less as we know it today. Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names that were either those of the local lord of the manor and his descendants as may be the case here, or they were given to people as easy identification, after they had left their original homes to move somewhere else.
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