The surname of RHODES was derived from the Old English word 'rodu' and was a locational name from either Rhode in County Devon or from Rhodes, the name of two estates, one between Prestwich and Ringley and the other near Middleton. This was a common entry in Yorkshire records. It was a topographic name for someone who lived in a clearing in woodland. There does not appear to be any connection to the modern English 'road' which was not used of a thoroughfare on land until the 16th century. The name was originally derived from the Old French word 'rode' and was probably brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Habitation names are derived from names denoting towns, villages, farmsteads or other named places, which include rivers, houses with signs on them, regions, or whole counties. The original bearer of the name who stayed in his area might be known by the name of his farm, or the locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another county could acquire the name of that county or the region from which he originated. Early records of the name mention Hugh de Rodes who was recorded in the year 1319 in County Devon. William Rhodes of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. A later instance of the name mentions Robert Roades of Lancashire who was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1660. Occasionally the name was used as a metonymic occupational name for a wheelwright, or for someone who lived by the water-wheel. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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