The surname of READEY was an English nickname for a provident man, from the Old English word GEROEDE meaning to counsel, to advise. Robert le Redye who was recorded in Yorkshire in the year 1260, appears to be the first of the name on record. John Rady was documented in 1327 in County Surrey, and William Ready was recorded in Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. It is also a Scottish habitation name from Reedie in the former county of Angus. James Reddy was a witness in Perthshire in 1549, and David Rady appears in Dunfermline in 1567. William Reddie was a weaver in St. Andrews in 1580. John Reddie was a member of the Scottish Parliament for Dysart in 1681.
In Ireland it is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic O'Rodaigh, a personal name probably derived from ROD (meaning spirited and furious). Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name.
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