1) This word has an Old Norse origin and it referred to an office holder, usually a manorial steward or churchwarden but applicable to a variety of other offices. It was current in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and possibly in other parts of the former Danelaw, where it regularly interchanged with ‘grieve’ and ‘greave’.
1459 And of ijs vjd Rec ... Of the Greyve of Ecop for wapentak fyne there
1563 Miles Herkey et Johannes Holden electi sunt in officiis le dyke graues, Settrington
1631 Anthony Greene ... has been elected greave this year, Austonley. It was seen as a regionalism by clerks who later ‘translated’ it: 1619-21 To enquire how everie Grave or Reeve hath aunswered the rentes they have collected, Pickering. The by-name is on record from the thirteenth century and is the source of Grave and Graveson as surnames: 1274 Willelmum Prepositum de Soureby
1332-3 William Greyf, Warley.
2) To dig, to inter.
1541 my bodie to be graven in the mide Ile, Marske
c.1570 now grave thy turff, Woodsome
1648 This day Hadfeild graved in the garden ... and spread lyme, Thurlstone. It had a quite specialised meaning in the Halifax area when oats was to be grown on steep hill-sides. This was first described by Watson and further explained and illustrated by the editors of Cornelius Ashworth's diaries: 1775 preparing the ground for the reception of the seed ... by what is called graving, which is ... one man’s cutting the ground in a straight line, to a certain depth, with a spade contrived for the purpose and another’s pulling the earth over with ... a hack, and so making a furrow: 1809 I was employed in Pulling Over and Brother Jno and Abraham in Graveing. Graving spades have survived and have distinctive foot rests which enable the digger to apply extra force. 'Graver' was used occasionally as an occupational term: c.1570 for spades, pikes and to the gravers, Woodsome.