The surname of RUSH was derived from the Old French word 'rous' a nickname for one with red-hair. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans.The name in Ireland is O'Ruis, and as such is found chiefly in County Monaghan. In Mayo, where the name is found as RUSH, it is the name of a sept of the Ui Fiachra called O'Luachra. The name was taken to Ireland by English settlers in medieval times. Early records of the name mention Anthony Rush, who registered at Oxford University in 1554. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. In 1561 Thomas O'Rushe appears as an official letter carrier, and Tadhag O'Rushe appears in the County Dublin Fiants of 1566. Thomas Rush married Elizabeth Smyth at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1600. Hugh Massie and Thomasine Rushe were married at the same church in the year 1638. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.
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