- This interesting name is of medieval English locational or topographical origins. If the latter, it denoted residence by or on a conspicuous green hill. This is derived from the Olde English pre 7th century word "grene", meaning green, and "hyll", a hill. The same derivation and meaning generally applies to all the various the places called Greenhill in England. These include Greenhill in the parish of Corningham in Norfolk, and Greenhill in the parish of Harrow on the Hill in the county of Middlesex. However Greenhill in Worcestershire has a quite different meaning. It is first recorded in one of the earliest surviving records as "Grimeshyll" in the year 816 a.d., and later as "Gremanhil" in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. It means the hill haunted by a ghost or spectre. This is from the pre 7th century Olde English word "grima" meaning a ghost! The modern surname has forms which include Greenhill and Grinnell. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Grenehill. This was dated 1200, in the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire, during the reign of King John of England, known to history and apparently his father as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this sometimes 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.
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