- This double-barrelled name has no overall meaning, but the two elements of the name can be traced back to separate surnames. "Knolles" is an English topographical surname denoting someone who lived at the top of a hill, or in some cases it can be a locational name from one of the many places named with the element "knoll", derived from the Old English pre 7th Century "cnoll", such as "knole" in Kent. The second part of the name "Green", can be either a nickname for someone who dressed habitually in the colour "green" or who played the part of the "Green Man" in Mayday celebrations, or it can be a topographical name for one who lived near a village green. The derivation is from the Old English "grene". The first recording of "Knolles" is that of "Robert de la Cnolle", the Devonshire Pipe Rolls, 1185. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Grene, which was dated 1188, Kent Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry II, Builder of Churches, 1154 - 1189. 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.