This name, with variant spellings Rice, Rhys, Reasce, Reece and Rees(e), derives from the Old Welsh personal name "Ris" or "Rhys", meaning "ardour" or "fiery warrior". The name first appears as "Hris" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles for Cambridgeshire, dated 1052, and as "Rees" in the Domesday Book of Cheshire, dated 1086. The name was borne by the last ruler of an independent Kingdom of Wales, Rhys ap Tewder, who died in 1093 unsuccessfully opposing the Norman advance. The surname was first recorded at the beginning of the 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: John Rees, who appeared in the 1288 Fine Court Rolls of Suffolk, and Walter Rys, who was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire, dated 1327. In 1536, Richard Rice or Price was Abbot of Conway (Wales), and on August 29th 1591, Griphin Rice and Agnes Careless were married in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, London. An interesting namebearer was Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762 - 1844), who founded the (Irish) Christian Brothers Order in County Waterford in 1808. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name from Wales is, a silver shield with an erminois chevron cotised black between three ravens of the last, the Crest being a lion rampant proper holding in the paw a bar shot black. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Res, which was dated 1203, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire", 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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