This English and French surname of RENEAU was originally from a Germanic personal name, composed of the elements RAGIN (counsel) + HARD (hardy, brave, strong). The name was introduced into England by the Normans in the form REINARD. This was the name borne by the cunning fox in the popular medieval cycle of beast-tales, with the result that from the 13th century it began to replace the previous Old French word for the animal. The conservatism of 17th and 18th century heraldry is shown by the fox - an animal regarded as vermin in the Middle Ages, and therefore hardly ever used in blazoning of arms. It re-emerged with the new found sport of fox-hunting, a sport normally associated with noble families. The name has numerous variant spellings which include RENHARD, RENNARD, RENYARD, REINARD, REYNARD and RENNERT, to name but a few. 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. Django REINHARDT (1910-53) was the Belgium guitarist, born in Liverchies to a family of gipsy entertainers. He became one of the first European jazz virtuosi. In 1946 he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra for an American tour, and he became a powerful influence among swing-style guitarists. Another notable member of the name was Adolf Fredrick REINHARDT (1913-67) the American painter and critic, born in Buffalo, New York. He studied at the National Gallery of Design, New York. German or Teutonic heraldry extended its sphere of influence over central Europe and spread into Scandinavia. It is most notable for its design and treatment of crests, most of which reflect the arms in the charge or tinctures (colours) or both, which is unknown in British heraldry. Teutonic Europe assembled many arms on a single shield, each bearing its corresponding crest on a helmet.
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