This unusual and interesting name is of early Medieval English origin, and derives from the place called 'Reaveley' in Northumberland, in the parish of Ingram. The place is recorded in the Fees Court Rolls of Northumberland of 1242 as 'Revel', and has two possible meanings. It is thought to mean 'the reeve's grove', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century '(ge)refa', reeve, the Medieval steward who supervised the running of a lord's manor and land, with 'leah', grove, clearing in a wood, but it may also mean 'the rough clearing', from the Old English 'hreof', rough, with 'leah' as before. The modern surname can be found as Reaveley, Reveley and Reeveley. The title of Duke of Northumberland descends through the female line of the Reveleys of Newton Underwood. The marriage of Thomas Reaveley and Ann Sanderson was recorded on February 9th 1669 at Berwick-upon-Tweed, in Northumberland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Reveley, which was dated 1327, in the Northumberland Subsidy Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as 'Edward of Caernafon', 1307-1327. 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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