The surname of GRAW is of two-fold origin. It was an English nickname for someone with grey-hair or a grey beard, derived from the Old English word GROEG. It was also a Norman-French and Scottish habitation name from GRAYE is Calvados, so called from the Gallo-Roman personal name GRATUS meaning 'welcome and pleasing'. The name has travelled widely and has numerous variant spellings which include GREY, LEGRAY, GRAUER, GRAUMANN, SCHRAAWEN, GRAUBERD, GRAUBERG and GRUBARD, to name but a few. During the 17th century surnames were brought to Britain, North America and southern Africa by French Huguenot exiles. The Huguenots were French Protestants, and in 1572 large numbers of them were massacred in Paris on the orders of Queen Catherine de'Medici. Many of the survivors sought refuge in England and elsewhere. Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. It was then the trickle of emigration became a flood. Many migrated to England, while others joined groups of Dutch Protestants settling around the Cape of Good Hope. Others sailed across the Atlantic to establish themselves in North America. Early records of the name in England mention Baldwin Grai of the County of Buckinghamshire in 1173. Robert de Gray of the County of Oxford was recorded in the year 1273. William Greye of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Peter Grey (ironmonger) was documented in York, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). William Knevett and Katherine Gray were married in London in 1523. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84.
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