This curious name derives from the Old French personal name "Rainbaut", which translates as "bold-counsel". The name in this form was introduced into England by followers of William 1 "The Conqueror" after the Norman Invasion of 1066. It is first recorded in its Latinized form as "Raimbaldus" in the Winton Rolls of Hampshire in 1086, and at the same time in the Domesday Book for Norfolk. As a surname it is first recorded in the 13th Century (see below), and in later forms appears as Raybould, Bambaut, Ramble, Rammell, Rimbault, Renbold and Rainbow. Holders of the name in this form include, Stephen Rainbow, who was Sheriff of Norwich in 1527. The name is also Huguenot, Paul Rainbau being christened at the famous French Church at Threadneedle Street, London, on April 12th 1719. In Oxfordshire, the name spelling introduced another form as Raynebowe, one Richard Raynebowe being recorded at Banbury, on February 10th 1594. The name has at various times been fancifully associated with the natural phenomenon, but there is no proven link. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Reimbaud, which was dated 1214, in the "Pipe Rolls of Middlesex", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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