This is a surname of continuing development which was originally recorded in England only in the county of Kent, and then specifically at the town of Tonbridge, although under a variety of spellings. The origin is almost certainly Huguenot. The derivation being from the French 'Ravalet or Ravallet'. The latter also being recorded heraldically in the Netherlands. The name recordings include the following examples, and show the development of the spelling from the first recording (below). Robert Ravelus, December 15th 1723 who appears to be the brother of John Raveles (!), Rose Ravilus (February 8th 1745), William Ravillas (November 10th 1762) whilst William Ravilous married Sarah Barden on January 7th 1816. James Ravilious of Sussex is famous for his photography of the English Countryside (1980). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Raveles, which was dated February 22nd 1716, christened at Tonbridge Church, Kent, during the reign of King George 1, known as Hanover George, 1715 - 1727. 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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