- This most interesting surname is of English locational origin from places called Greenham in Berkshire and Somerset. The former place, appearing as "Greneham" in the Domesday Book (1086), is composed of the Olde English elements "gren", green and "ham", a village or homestead. The latter place in Somerset is recorded as "Grindeham" in the Domesday Book and derives its name from "Grinde", a stream-name, from "grindan", to grind, hence it may mean "a brook that grinds its bed", and the second element "ham" as below. The surname itself first appears in the mid 13th Century (see below). One Ralph de Greneham appears in the Hundred Rolls of Suffolk in 1275. The London Church Registers include the following entries: the marriage of Jefforie Grenam to Johan Kyrton on June 5th, 1560 at St. Mary at Hill; and the christening of Ellen, daughter of William and Ann Grinham on January 16th 1621 St. Andrew, Holborn. The Ulster Office granted a Coat of Arms to the family in 1661, which depicts a barry of ten red and silver, on a red chief containing three gold cinque-foils. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon de Gryndham, which was dated 1268 in the "Assize Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.