This surname was a locational name 'of Renacre' a spot in County Lancashire. The name was derived from the Old English word
Rygen-aecer, literally meaning the dweller by the rye-acres, from residence nearby. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. The earliest record of this name appears to be Alan de Ruynacres who was documented in the year 1246 in the County of Lancashire. Richard de Reinacre, 1261 ibid. Thomas Runeckles of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and Richard Ruynacres appears in County Lancashire in 1500. Alice Renackers, 1568 County Suffolk. Elizabeth Runicles (widow) was recorded in 1798 in County Suffolk. When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day. 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.
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