The surname of GRANSDEN was a locational name 'of Little Gransden' a spot in County Cambridgeshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned.
The first known bearer of the surname is Rigaldus de Grancione (1040). The name was brought to Britain by Otes de Grandison (who died in 1328) and his brother, sons of the Lord of Granson. They were among a group of Savoyards who settled in England after Henry 111 had married a granddaughter of the Count of Savoy. Other records mention Grantandene (without surname) documented in the year 973, County Cambridge. The name was recorded in the year 1050 as Grentedene, and Grantesdene (without surname) was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086.
The name is also spelt Granson, Gransdon and Grandison.The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing garment worn over the armour.
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