This very ancient surname REYES was derived from the Old English word 'ea'. It was a locational name meaning the dweller by the stream, or from residence near a piece of firm land in a fen. The name is also spelt REYE, REE, RAA, RA, RAY and REY. Ralph de la Reye, of County Oxford, appears to be the first of the name on record in the year 1200. William atte Ree was documented in 1285 in Cambridge, and William bithe Ree appears in County Essex in 1279. This is an old surname in Dumfriesshire, perhaps taken by settlers in the 15th and 16th centuries. Robert Raa was a mason who witnessed a charter to the Abbey of Culross in 1231. Ralph Ra, burgess of Stirling witnessed a charter of lands in Dunipas, circa. 1296-1300. Later instances of the name mention Etheldreda Rau who was recorded during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and Thomas Rey of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Raa of Scotland petitioned in 1404 for safe conduct to carry away his goods which had been captured at sea by Englishmen. Robert Ray and Elizabeth Adlington were married at St.George's, Hanover Square, London in 1790. 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. Alba, the country which became Scotland, was once shared by four races; the Picts who controlled most of the land north of the Central Belt; the Britons, who had their capital at Dumbarton and held sway over the south west, including modern Cumbria; the Angles, who were Germanic in origin and annexed much of the Eastern Borders in the seventh century, and the Scots. The latter came to Alba from the north of Ireland late in the 5th century to establish a colony in present day Argyll, which they named Dalriada, after their homeland. The Latin name SCOTTI simply means a Gaelic speaker.
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