This surname of GRELL was originally derived from the Old French 'greslet' and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name has many variants which include GREYLEY, GREYLER, GREYLEG, GRESLET, GREALEY, GREALY, GRESLE, GRELE and GRESLON, to name but a few. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. Other records of the name mention Thomas de Greyley, County Rutland, 1273. Robert de Greyle of the County of Cambridge was recorded in the year 1300, and during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) Robert Greyleg was documented in County Somerset. Thomas Greyler of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Robert Gresle and Thomas Greyley were recorded in County Nottingham in the year 1400, and Albert Grellie appears in the Wills at Chester in 1560. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of noble birth, who realized that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. It was not until the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) that it became common practice for all people. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The holders of the manor of Manchester in the 12th to 14th centuries, were members of the Greslet family, of which branches are still to be found in County Lancashire.
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