Recorded in the spellings of Grimston and Grimestone, this is an English locational surname. It is from any of the varied villages of the same spellings in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk, and all have the same origin and meaning. They derive from the Olde English pre 7th century personal name 'Grimr' which is also found in German and Scandanavian records, and means a 'mask'. Why such a word should develop into a personal name is one of the mysteries of ancient life. It is probably pagan, and maybe something to do with a ceremony where people wore masks, or at least were disguised in some way. This is to some extent borne out by the second element of 'stan' meaning 'stone' suggesting that these villages were the original sites of pagan temples, where ceremonies which may have involved being disguised took place. What is certain is that the surname is an early recording, dating back to the very begining of surnames in the 13th centuries. Examples taken from surviving rolls, registers, and charters of the period include: Adame de Grinneston in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Yorkshire in 1273, and Johannes de Grymston in the Poll Tax register of the year 1379. Other recordings include William de Grimstone, given as being a Freeman of the city of York in 1395, and Sir Henry Grimston, and his wife Margeritt, who were christening witnesses at the church known as St Michael's Cornhill, in the city of London in 1626.
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