Recorded in over forty several spelling forms including Reynard, Renard, Reynault, Renardin, Regenhardin, and Reintjes, this interesting surname is of Germanic origins, but is now widely recorded in England, Germany and France in its different forms, as well as other countries. It derives from "Raginhard", a pre 8th century personal name composed of the elements "ragin", meaning counsel, with "hard", brave or strong. The given names "Rainardi" and "Rainart" are noted in the English Domesday Book of Norfolk for 1086, having been introduced by the Norman Invaders of 1066. This name as Reynard was borne by the cunning fox in the popular medieval cycle of beast-tales, with the result that from the 13th Century the Old French "goupil" meaning fox, was replaced by the modern form of "renard". This suggests that the surname may also have originated as a nickname for crafty individuals, given the fox's reputation for cunning. Early examples of the surname recording include: Henry Renard in the Subsidy Rolls of Hampshire, England in 1325, and later James Reynard, on July 29th 1571, at St. Botolph without Aldgate in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is believed to be that of Elias Reynardi, which was dated 1205, at St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk. This was during the reign of King John of England (1199 - 1216). He was known originally by the nickname of 'Lackland'. This was because he was the second son of King Henry 11, and not expected to succeed his father. 'Lackland' may be described as a medieval 'in' joke, which rebounded.
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