Grenwall History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The present generation of the Grenwall family is only the most recent to bear a name that dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name comes from having lived as dwellers beside the green grassy hill or body of water. The name comes from the Old English words "green," and "well." No doubt, the first to use this surname were a family who lived on lush green ground near a well, spring or stream. As such, the surname is classed as a topographic surname, one based on physical features near the residence, such as hills, streams, churches, etc.

Early Origins of the Grenwall family

The surname Grenwall was first found in Durham where they held a family seat from very ancient times, as Lords of the manor of Greenwell in the parish of Walsingham, and are descended from Gulielmus the Presbyter who held those lands in 1183. His son James assumed the name of the lands, Greenwell. [1]

"Greenwell is a very ancient Durham surname. The Greenwells of Stobilee, who carry their pedigree back to the beginning of the 16th century, seem to have been one of the principal stocks in modern times; the property of Broomshields has been for four centuries in the possession of a branch of this family." [2]

Early History of the Grenwall family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Grenwall research. Another 96 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Grenwall History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Grenwall Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Grenwall include Grenwell, Greenwell, Greenwall, Grenwall and others.

Early Notables of the Grenwall family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Grenwall Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Grenwall family

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Grenwall were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: Acton Greenwell who settled in New England in 1775; Francis Greenwell who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1862; Richard in 1852; another Richard in 1855.



  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.


Houseofnames.com on Facebook