This is an English and Lancastrian surname. It is locational and originates from a now much diminished medieval village formerly called Grimshaw, and now known as Grimshaw Park, near the town of Blackburn. The place name means 'Grim's wood' with Grim being a popular first name in ancient times. Locational surnames were traditionally given either to the lord of the manor and his descendants or to former inhabitants who for whatever reason, left their original homes and moved elsewhere. In so doing they were given as easy identification, the name of their former home. In this case the surname is also very popular in the adjoining county of Yorkshire. Many villages were 'diminished' and several thousand actually totally 'lost', between the 14th and 18th centuries as a result of plague and 'clearance' to facilitate sheep farming. Grimshaw was clearly one of them. Early examples of the surname recording include Adam de Grymshawe of Tottington in Lancashire in the year 1317, whilst Alice Grimshaw of Great Harwood is recorded in the Wills Register at the city of Chester in 1547. That the name spelling at this date was still not 'locked' is shown by the recording of Nicholas Grymeshaw of Clayton-on-the-Moors, Lancashire in 1623.
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