The surname of GRENVILLE was of the locational group of surnames 'of Grenville' a familiar seaport of Lower Normandy. The Grenvilles of Wootton, County Buckinghamshire, descend from Richard de Grenville, who came over with the Conqueror in the train of Walter Giffard, Earl of Longueville and Buckingham. Almost every city, town or village extant in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. While a man lived in a town or village he would not be known by its name, as that would be no means of identification - all in the village would be so named. But 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 by the name of the land which he owned. Some had the name of a manor or village because they were lords of that place and owned it, but the majority descend from vassals of freeman who once had lived there. Early records of the name mention Thomas de Grenwille of County Oxford, who was recorded in 1273. Adam de Greynville, County Wiltshire, ibid. Sir Richard Grenville (1541-1591) was the English naval commander and landowner, born in Buckland Abbey, Devon of ancient Cornish stock. He distinguished himself early by his courage on land and sea in campaigns in Ireland and against the Turks in Hungary. He was knighted about 1577. In 1585 he commanded the seven ships carrying Raleigh's first colony to Virginia. A notable member of the name was Sir Bevil Grenville (1596-1643), the English royalist soldier, born in Brinn, Cornwall. He studied at Exeter College, Oxford, and entered parliament in 1621. He sided for some years with the popular party. From 1639 he warmly espoused the king's cause, helped defeat the parliamentarians at Bradock Down in 1643, but fell at the head of the Cornish Infrantry in the royalist victory of Landsdowne. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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