Recorded as Grimmer and the dialectal Grimster, this is an English surname, but one ultimately of Norman-French origins, being introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. The derivation is from a personal name "Grimier", composed of the elements "grim", meaning a mask, helmet, and "heri, hari", army. In some instances the surname may be of medieval Germanic origin, and would have been a nickname for a stern person, from the Old High German "grimm", stern, severe. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. Godwin Grim is noted in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk (1170), and Alan Grime is listed in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire (1279). Recordings of the surname from English church registers include: the marriage of Jone Grimmer and George Butterfeild, on April 15th 1623, at St. Peter Cornhill, London; the marriage of Anne Grimmer and Edward Wigg on January 10th 1662, at All Saints, Norwich, Norfolk; and the wedding of Elijah Grimster to Jane Gardner at St Pancras Old Church, in the city of London on September 18th 1849. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edricus Grimma, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Suffolk, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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