Recorded as Greenhalgh, Greenhall, Greenall, Greenill, Grenoll, Gronel, Grunnell, Grunnill, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is ancient and locational from villages called Greenhill in the counties of Lincolnshire and Middlesex, or from Greenhalgh in the county of Lancashire. In all cases the derivation is from the pre 7th century word "grene", meaning green and either "holh", a hole, or possibly "hyll", a hill, and therefore green hollow or green hill. 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 placenames were first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, however after the 13th century the suffix changed to "halh", meaning a piece of flat land by the side of a river, or in a corner formed by a bend. John de Grenhul is recorded in Bedford in 1332, whilst John Greenhalgh the royalist governor of the Isle of Man in 1640, died of his wounds at the battle of Worcester in 1651. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Grenhal, which was dated 1230, in the Pipe Rolls of Shropshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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