This famous surname is English and locational. Recorded in the International Genalogical Index as Redgraft, Redgrave, and the dialectal Redgrove, it originates from the parish and village of Redgrave, north west of Eye in the county of Suffolk. Recorded as Redgrafe in documents and charters of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, in the year 1050, and as Redegraue in the Pipe Rolls of that county in 1179, the place was so named from the pre 7th Century words "hreod", meaning reed, and "graef", a ditch. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given either to the local lord of the manor and his descendants, or especially as a means of identification to those who had left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include Adam de Redgrave of Norfolk in 1477, whilst on January 12th 1548, John Redgrave was christened at St. Mary's church, Woodbridge, in Suffolk, and Martin Redrove or Redgrov, was christened at St Margarets Westminster, on February 2nd 1594. Notable bearers of the name were the brothers Samuel and Richard Redgrave, who flourished in Victorian times, and later the Redgrave theatrical family, who continue to have world wide fame in the late 20th century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Robert de Redgrave. This was dated 1344, in the Medieval Records of the city of Norwich, Norfolk, during the reign of King Edward 111rd, 1327 - 1377. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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