- This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is locational from a place so called, a township in the parish of Wybunbury, Cheshire. This placename is also found recorded as Grestie, Grastie, Greste, Grastye, Greastie and Greasty, and is thought to derive from the Old English 'greosn', meaning a gravely or pebble-strewn place. The following examples illustrate the name development after the recording in 1604 (see below): Margrett Greastie (1613, Cheshire), John Gresty was christened at St. Michael's, Macclesfield, Cheshire in 1625, Humphrey Greste (1639), Henry Grastye (1648), Elizabeth Greastie (1692) and Joseph Greasty (1696). It became customary during the Middle Ages to adopt the village name as a means of identification. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Randle Grastie, which was dated 1604, in the "Wills at Chester", Warford, Cheshire, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.