The surname of REEP was an occupational name 'the maker and seller of ropes'. The word was derived from the Old English 'RAP'. The name is also spelt RAPER, ROOPER, ROPE, ROPES, ROOPE, RIEPER and REEPS to name but a few. The name was frequently found in medieval documents. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function of the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Early records of the name mention Peter de Roper of the County of Nottingham in 1273. Thomas le Roper, rector of Eccles, was documented in County Norfolk in 1347. Rogerus Roper of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Richard William Roper was baptised at St.James, Clerkenwell, London in 1613. A family of the name Roper trace their descent in the male line from Robert de Fourneaux, who was living in the reign of Henry I (1100-35). Their surname became Roper on the marriage in 1428 of Richard Furneaux of Deighton, Yorkshire, to the heiress of a certain John Roper of Derbyshire. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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