The surname of REEVES was an official occupational name 'the reeve' a bailif or steward. The name was also locational 'the dweller at the border of a wood or hill'. The name was derived from the Old English word EFES. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Sampson le Reve, County Suffolk, 1273. Richard del Reves was recorded in 1332 in County Lancashire. John le Reveson, County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). John le Reve of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. Later instances of the name include John Trott and Elizabeth Reeve who were married at Westminster, London in the year 1638. James Petrie married Elizabeth Reves were married in London in the year 1686. Ann, daughter of William Reeves was baptised at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in 1729. The name was taken to Scotland by settlers, and the first of the name on record appears to be Adam the Reeve, who was a juror on an inquisition by the sheriff of Lanark in the year 1263. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered in Glastonbury, County Somerset.
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