Grenfield History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Grenfield is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Grenfield family lived in one of the many places named Grenville in Normandy. Grenville was a seaport in Lower Normandy. [1]

There are also many places in Normandy called Grainville, which is a place-name derived from the Germanic personal name Guarin, which means guard, and the Old French word ville, which means village or settlement. [2]

Early Origins of the Grenfield family

The surname Grenfield was first found in Buckinghamshire, where they descend from Richard de Grenville who came with the Conqueror in the train of Walter Giffard, Earl of Longeville and Buckingham. He was son in law of Giffard. [3]

Cornwall and Devon is home to the family too as George Grenville of Stowe stated in 1711 in a letter to his nephew: "Your ancestors for at least five hundred years never made any alliances, male of female, out of the western counties: thus there is hardly a gentleman either in Cornwall or Devon, but has some of you blood, as you of theirs."

Here is another account of the family's origin: "The ancient and noble family of Grenville of Stow in Kilkhampton, so much renowned in Cornwall, came into England with William the Conqueror. Richard de Grenville, who first visited this country, and who was a military officer, is said to be a younger brother of Robert Fitzhaman, Earl of Carbill, Lord of Thurigny and Granville in France and Normandy, and to have lineally descended from Rollo Duke of Normandy. Richard de Grenville, on obtaining a settlement in England, married Isabel, daughter of the Earl of Buckingham, and thus became the common ancestor of the Grenvilles in Cornwall, Devonshire, and Buckinghamshire. Those who came into the western parts, took up their primary residence at Bideford, where one of them held three knights' fees in the reign of Henry II. during which period they appear to have had a seat at Stow in Kilkhampton; but at what time this settlement began is very uncertain." [4]

"The manor of Treglasta, which lies principally in Alternon, has its site at Treglasta in this parish. The manors of Halwell and Hendraburnick, were held formerly under Launceston Castle. These, with the manor of Tremeal, partly in this parish and partly in that of St. Juliot, were for some time in the Grenville family, from whom they were alienated prior to 1620." [4]

"[The parish of] Kilkhampton, which is rendered famous by the renowned family of Grenville, to whom it gave residence, and for furnishing to the celebrated Mr. Hervey an occasion to write his 'Meditations among the Tombs,' is situated in the northern part of Cornwall, in the deanery of Trigg Major, and in the hundred of Stratton, from which town it is about three miles and a half distant." [4]

Early History of the Grenfield family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grenfield research. Another 145 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1165, 1315, 1542, 1591, 1576, 1577, 1596, 1643, 1600, 1658, 1628, 1701, 1661, 1701, 1691, 1693, 1692, 1711, 1707, 1666, 1735 and 1712 are included under the topic Early Grenfield History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grenfield Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Granville, Granfield, Grandfield, Greenfield and many more.

Early Notables of the Grenfield family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Richard Grenville (1542-1591), an English sailor from Bideford, Devon, sea captain and explorer, Sheriff of Cornwall (1576-1577) and Sheriff of Cork; Sir Bevil Grenville (1596-1643), Royalist soldier in the English Civil War, and Member of Parliament; Sir Richard Grenville (Granville) (1600-1658), 1st Baronet, a Cornish Royalist leader during the English Civil War; John Granville, 1st Earl of Bath (1628-1701), English Royalist statesman during the English Civil War, who was made Lord...
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Grenfield Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Grenfield family to Ireland

Some of the Grenfield family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Grenfield family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Grenfield or a variant listed above: Xtop Granfield who settled in Virginia in 1650; Pierre Granville, who settled in Louisiana in 1719; and Catherine Granville, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1818..



The Grenfield Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Frangas non flectes
Motto Translation: Thou may'st break, but shalt not bend me.


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print


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