The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. RUETER is of Dutch and German origin, an occupational name meaning 'one who cleared the land for tilling' or 'one who fought on horseback'. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form RUPTUARIUS. The name was adopted by Ashkenazic Jews. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. There are many spellings of the name which include REUTHER, REITHER, REITHMAN, REITEN and GREITHER. A noteworthy person of the name was Michael Adriabszoon de RUYTER (1607-76) the Dutch naval commander, born in Flushing. He went to sea as a cabin boy, but by 1635 had become a captain in the Dutch navy. In the Dutch war with England (1652-54) he served with distinction. In 1667 he sailed up the Medway to Rochester, burned some of the English ships, and next sailed up the Thames to Gravesend, besides attacking Harwich. In 1675 he sailed for the Mediterranean to help the Spaniards against the French, but was mortally wounded in a battle in the Bay of Catania, off Sicily. Another notable member of the name was Baron Paul Julius von REUTER (1816-99) the founder of the news agency which still bears his name. He was born Jisroel-Ber Josafat. He changed his name on being baptised as a Christian in 1844, but it is not known why he adopted the name REUTER.
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