This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Reeves may be a patronymic form of Reeve, itself an occupational name for a steward or bailiff, from the Middle English "reeve", a development of the Olde English pre 7th century "(ge)refa", reeve. The surname may also be occupational for a servant at the reeve's (house). Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. In medieval times servants in royal households were held in high regard, and frequently those who occupied senior positions enjoyed certain privileges, and the post would be passed on to the the eldest son. The second possibility is that the name is topographical from residence on the margin of a wood, resulting from a misdivision of the Middle English phrase "after eaves", at the edge, ultimately from the Olde English "aet thaere efese". One, John atte Revese was noted in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire. Notable bearers of the name were John Reeves appointed painter to the King, 1800, and Charles Reeves who became architect to the county courts in England and Wales, 1847. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield, with a fess between three azure billets, on a red chief a silver lion passant quardant, the Crest being a black demi griffin. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard del Reves, which was dated 1332, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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