This surname GRAYSHAN was of the baptismal group of surnames 'the son of the Greyve or steward'. It is familiar to Lancashire and Yorkshire, and all the modern variants can still be found in the Leeds district. Many early instances of the name are to be found in the Preston Guild Rolls of 1884. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Richard Grayveson 1327 in Wakefield, Yorkshire. John Graivsone appears in County Surrey in 1332, and John Graveson of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function of 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. Later instances of the name mention John Graveson of Walton who was listed in the Lancashire Wills at Richmond in 1565, and Cuthbert Grayson registered at Oxford University in the year 1516.
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