The surname of GREENWAY was a locational name, the dweller by the green-way or road by the village or town. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Surnames as we recognise them today are believed to have been introduced by the Normans after the Invasion of 1066. The first mention of such names appears in the Domesday Book and they were progressively adopted between the 11th and 15th centuries. It was the nobles and upper classes who first assumed a second name, setting them apart from the common people who continued to use only the single name given to them at birth. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that is became common practice to use a secondary name, originally a name reflecting the place of birth, a nickname, an occupational name or a baptismal name which had been passed on from a parent to the child, as an additional means of identification. Early records of the name mention Robert Greneway, 1273 County Oxford. Edwin Greenway of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Greenwaie, registered at Oxford University in the year 1567. Thomas Greenway of Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1618. Robert Hyron married Elizabeth Grinnoway, St. Peter, Cornhill, London in 1643. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory.
Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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