Show ContentsGreenhill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient history of the Greenhill name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in Greenhalg in Kirkham and Greenhalg Castle in Garstang. The surname Greenhill originally derived from greene as n the village greene which was the center or main square of each region. Many inhabitants in various counties adopted this surname as part of their family's nomenclature. The surname Greenhill is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came.

Early Origins of the Greenhill family

The surname Greenhill was first found in Shropshire where Richard de Grenhal was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1230. A few years later, William de Grenol was listed in the Assize Rolls for Lancashire in 1246, as was Matill de Greenhalgh, William de Grenolf, de Grenholl in the Subsidy Rolls for 1332. [1]

One branch originated in Greenhalgh (now known as Greenhalgh-with-Thistleton), a civil parish on the Fylde in Lancashire or possibly Greenhalgh, now Greenhalgh Castle, in Garstang parish, Lancashire, (spelt Greenhaugh) [2]

"The Greenhalghs, who are best represented in the Middleton district, derive their name from a Lancashire township. During the 15th century, the Grenehalghs of Brandlesome were hereditary bailiffs of Tottington, and during the two succeeding centuries they gained and retained the position of gentry. The name of Thomas Greenhalgh occurs in the list of intended Knights of the Royal Oak, amongst those of other Lancashire gentlemen, the annual value of his estate being there placed at £1,000: this Order, however, which Charles II. intended as a reward for his followers, was never founded." [3]

Early History of the Greenhill family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Greenhill research. Another 269 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1246, 1576, 1584, 1591, 1599, 1611, 1613, 1615, 1635, 1644, 1646, 1648, 1651, 1652, 1655, 1658, 1661, 1669, 1671, 1672, 1676, 1679, 1708, 1740, 1791 and 1810 are included under the topic Early Greenhill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Greenhill Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Greenhill include Greenhalgh, Greenhow, Greenhough, Greenhall and others.

Early Notables of the Greenhill family

Distinguished members of the family include

  • William Greenhill (1591-1671), an English nonconformist clergyman from Oxfordshire, independent minister, and member of the Westminster Assembly; Thomas Greenhill (1611?-1658), an English colonial adm...

Greenhill Ranking

In the United States, the name Greenhill is the 11,700th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

United States Greenhill migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Greenhill or a variant listed above:

Greenhill Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Nicholas Greenhill, aged 24, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 aboard the ship "Marmaduke" [5]
  • Samuel Greenhill, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1635 [6]
  • Martha Greenhill, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [6]
  • Thomas Greenhill, who arrived in Maryland in 1665 [6]
Greenhill Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Greenhill, who arrived in New England in 1773 [6]

Canada Greenhill migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Greenhill Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Richard Greenhill, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Elk Greenhill, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Australia Greenhill migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Greenhill Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Greenhill, aged 51, a clerk, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Duke of Wellington" [7]
  • Joseph Greenhill, aged 51, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke Of Wellington" in 1849 [7]
  • Ann Greenhill, aged 48, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke Of Wellington" in 1849 [7]
  • John Greenhill, aged 19, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke Of Wellington" in 1849 [7]
  • Ellen Greenhill, aged 16, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Duke Of Wellington" in 1849 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Greenhill migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Greenhill Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • R Greenhill, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1839
  • Peter Greenhill, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
  • Frederick Greenhill, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Edwin Fox" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Greenhill (post 1700) +

  • William Alexander Greenhill (1814-1894), English physician, literary editor and sanitary reformer
  • Joseph Greenhill (1704-1788), English theological writer
  • Gary Greenhill (b. 1985), Scottish professional football midfielder
  • Ernest Greenhill (1887-1967), 1st Baron Greenhill, a Scottish politician
  • Denis Arthur Greenhill GCMG, OBE (1913-2000), Baron Greenhill of Harrow, the British Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 1969 to 1973
  • David Greenhill Gardyne (1796-1867), Baron of Findhaven, Scottish Member of the East India Company's Civil Service
  • David Greenhill (b. 1985), Scottish professional football midfielder
  • Craig Greenhill (b. 1972), Australian former rugby league footballer
  • Dr. Basil Jack Greenhill (1920-2003), British diplomat, museum director and historian, Director of the National Maritime Museum (1967-1983)
  • Sir Alfred George Greenhill F.R.S. (1847-1927), British mathematician who developed a rule of thumb for calculating the optimal twist rate for lead-core bullets in 1879

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Baines Thomas & William Fairbairn, Lancashire and Cheshire, Past and Present History of Counties London: William MacKenzie, 1867, Digital, 4 vols
  3. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's Retrieved January 6th 2023, retrieved from
  6. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The DUKE OF WELLINGTON 1849. Retrieved from on Facebook