- This is a famous English surname, mainly because of the radio reporter and interviewer much associated with the Second World War, Freddie Grisewood. Recorded in several forms including Grisewood, Griswood, Gresswood, Grazewood, and Gracewood, all spellings are quite rare. The surname itself would seem to be from a now "lost" village, with the the origins being 8th century Norse-Viking "griss" meaning boar or pig, and "wudu", a wood. The placename is not recorded in any of the modern gazetters, nor does it seem to be in earlier examples predating Victorian times. This is not in itself so unusual. An estimated five thousand surnames of British Isles do originate from "lost" places of which the only reminder, is the surname itself. As the Norsemen mainly left their mark on the North West of England and Southern Scotland, and indeed as Grisswood the name is recorded in Wigan, Lancashire in 1731, it is possible the name is from this region. Locational surnames are by their nature "from" names. These were names given to people after they left their original homes are moved elsewhere. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, often lead as with this name, to the development of many spellings. Examples of the name recording in the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include George Gricewood, at St Bartholomew The Great, on May 6th 1743, and George Gresswood, who we believe was probably the earlier George Gricewood, at St Pancras Old Church, on June 21st 1745
Surnames reference. 2013.