This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name for a "dweller by a grassy path". The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "grene", green, with "weg", way, path, road. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities f the Middle Ages. The surname may also be a locational name from one of the various place called Greenway, for example, in Herefordshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Staffordshire. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below), and can also be found as Greenway and Greenaway. Robert Grenewey is listed in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire. On February 21st 1600, Jhon, son of Gyles Grinaway, was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate, London, and Alice Grinaway married Thomas Warton on July 13th 1679 at St. James's, Duke's Place, London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family is a red shield with a gold chevron between three gold covered cups, on a silver chief three blue griffins' heads erased, beaked gold, the Crest being a blue griffin's head erased pendent from the beak a gold annulet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Greneweie, which was dated 1214, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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