Redgrave Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Redgrave Meaning
Redgrave comes from the place name of Redgrave, which lies northwest of
Eye in Suffolk close to the border with Norfolk. The
root of the
name appears to be the Old English hreod,
meaning “reed,” and graef, meaning
The early spelling of the place
was Redgrafesthorpe, suggesting possibly an early Danish
settlement. Redgrave manor was recorded
in the Domesday
Book of 1086. The manor passed from
King to the illustrious Bacon family in 1542.
The village population numbered about forty in
the early Middle Ages. Because
this number is not very large, there
is some reason to believe that all Redgraves might have come from a

Redgrave Resources on

Redgrave Ancestry

surname Redgrave would designate that you came from Redgrave in
Suffolk, not
that you were living there. Thus an
early Redgrave might well be living somewhere else.
Early examples of the name were in fact in
Norfolk – Robert de Redgrave of Norwich in 1344 and Adam de Redgrave in
in 1477.

The name was mainly to be found
in London and in East Anglia. Of the 750
Redgraves recorded in the 1891 census:

  • 36%
    lived in London
  • 15% in Norfolk
  • 14%
    in Suffolk
  • and
    5% in Essex.

Redgrave and his wife Elizabeth, who were living at Seething in Norfolk
in the 1750’s, are believed to have been the forebears of the Olympic
rower Steve Redgrave. From
William Redgrave, a wire worker and fence manufacturer
of limited means in Pimlico, came two cultured brothers of early
Victorian London
– Samuel, a civil servant and writer on art, and Richard, an
artist and
teacher of art.

Some Redgraves came from outside of this area of eastern England.
One family of Redgraves was to be found at Earls Barton in
Northamptonshire in the late 16th century. Later Redgraves
included the famous acting family of Redgrave:

  • George Redgrave (1851-1881), the inventor of the board game
  • Roy Redgrave (1873-1922), the stage and silent film actor (who
    left his family for Australia)
  • Sir Michael Redgrave (1908-1985), the well-known stage and film
  • and his daughters Vanessa and Corin and grand-daughters Natasha
    and Joely, who all made their marks as actresses.

Tim Adler’s 2011 book The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a
Theatrical Dynast
y described this family.

A Redgrave family in Warwickshire traces itself back to John Redgrave
who was born around 1733 in the village of Bishops Itchington.

Redgrave Names

  • Sir Michael Redgrave was
    a well-known stage and film actor and the sire of famous Redgrave actresses.
  • Sir Steve Redgrave was the
    Olympic rower who won five consecutive gold medals, from 1984 to 2000.

Select Redgrave Numbers Today

  • 1,200 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 200 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Redgrave and Like Surnames

Many surnames have come from East Anglia (Norfolk and Suffolk) and surrounding areas in eastern England.  These are some of the noteworthy surnames that you can check out.





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