This interesting surname, recorded in the spellings of Greenham, Grenham, and the transposed dialectal Grinham, is of English locational origin from places called Greenham or Greenham Common in Berkshire, and Greenham in Somerset. The former place, recorded as "Greneham" in the Domesday Book of the year 1086, is composed of the Olde English elements "gren", translating as green and "ham", a village or homestead. Quite why a village should be called "Green" is unclear, and it may be that his is or was a personal name. The Somerset villages, of which there are two, are recorded as "Grindeham" in the Domesday Book and may derive their name from the Olde English pre 7th century "Grinde", meaning to grind, hence the translation may mean "a brook that grinds its bed", with the second element "ham" as below. The surname itself first appears in the mid 13th Century (see below), and early recordings include Ralph de Greneham in the Hundred Rolls of Suffolk in 1275, and his son, also called Ralph, in the Curia Regis rolls of Suffolk in 1293. The authentic church registers include the following entries: the marriage of Jefforie Grenam to Johan Kyrton on June 5th, 1560 at St. Mary at Hill, London, and the christening of Ellen, daughter of William and Ann Grinham on January 16th 1621 St. Andrew's church, Holborn. The coat of arms was granted to the family by Charles 11nd in 1661. This has the blazon of a barry of ten red and silver, a red chief containing three gold cinque-foils. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon de Gryndham, which was dated 1268 in the "Assize Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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