This is an English locational surname from any one of the places similarly named in Sussex and in Essex. "East Grinstead" in Essex is first recorded as "Grensteda" in 1121 and "West Grinstead" as "Grenestede" in 1261. By 1280 they were further identified as "Est" and "West" - Grinsted. In Essex, "Greenstead" near Colchester is recorded as "Grenstede" in 995 and "Greensted" near Chipping Ongar as "Gernesteda" in the Domesday Book of 1086. All four of these places share the same derivation and meaning, that of "green place", from the Old English pre 7th Century "gren", green and "stede" or "styde", a place or the site of a building. "Ann Grinsted", daughter of Phillip and Ann was christened on the 17th March 1649 at St. Brides, Fleet Street. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Grenested, which was dated 1230, in the "Sussex Pipe Rolls", 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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