This interesting name, with variant spellings Gronw and Gronowe, is a dialectal transposition of the Old Welsh personal byname Goronw(y), a heron. One, Goronw ap (son of) Cadwgan was recorded in 11th Century records of Wales, and Goronwy Gyriog who flourished in the period 1310 - 1360 was an Anglesey poet. A Kenwrig ap Grono appeared in Records of Chirk, dated 1301. The surname is particularly well recorded in Glamorgan church registers from the early part of the 17th Century. On April 21st 1625, Adam Gronowe and Elizabeth Gamon were married in Pennard, and on March 15th 1638 John, a son, was born to Richard and Elizabeth Gronw in Ilandough by Cowbridge. On May 29th 1720 Evan Gronow and Jane Ross were married in St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London. An interesting namebearer was Rees Howell Gronow (1794 - 1865) writer of "Reminiscences", 1861. At Eton he was a friend to Shelley, and later served in the Peninsula war, 1813 - 1814 and at Waterloo. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh Gronnow married Ann Backhowse, which was dated January 28th 1570 in St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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