This interesting surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and is an example of the sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of qualities, including physical attributes, mental and moral characteristics, and to habits of dress and occupation. The derivation is from the Old French "raison", reasoning, intellectual faculty, and would have been a nickname for an intelligent person.In some instances the surname may be of early medieval English origin, and would be a patronymic form of Reeve, "son of Reeve". Reeve was an occupational name for a steward or bailiff, the precise character of whose duties varied from place to place and at different periods. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below), and can also be found as Reeson, Raison and Rayson. Roger Reusone is noted in the records of the Abbey of Crowland, Cambridgeshire (1292). On April 9th 1588, Annes Reason was christened in London, and Elizabeth Reason married William Harding on May 16th 1610 at Edmonton, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a red shield, with a gold lion rampant, in the first quarter a cross pattee vair, the Crest being a fox's head erased proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Reson, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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