The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This Monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work. This French surname of RABEL is of two origins. It was an occupational name for someone who grew and sold turnips. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form REBELLIS. It may also have been a habitation name for someone who came from a place named with this word, for example in RAVEL in Puy-de-Dome, France. Other spellings of the name include RABELAIS, RABELE, RABEAU and REVEL. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name. A notable member of the name was Francois RABELAIS (circa, 1494-1553) the French satirist, said to have been born at a farmhouse near Chinon, or possibly in the town of Chinon, where his father was an advocate. At nine he was sent to the Benedictine abbey of Seuilly, and from there to the Franciscan house of La Baumette, near Angers. He was the author of 'Pantagruel' and 'Gargantua', and gave rise to the expression RABELAISIAN, meaning of or like RABELAIS; having the exuberance and coarse humour characteristic of the man. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84.
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