This long-established surname is of early medieval English origin, and derives from the Old Norman French male given name "Rainer" or "Re(i)ner", itself coming from the Old German "Raginhari", a compound of the elements "ragin", counsel, and "hari", army. This name was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, and occurs in its Latinized form "Rainerus" in the Domesday Book of 1086. One, Reynerus cancellarius was noted in the Register of St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk, dated 1101, and a Ricardus filius (son of) Rainer in the 1148 Winton Rolls of Hampshire. Pre 7th Century Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water, and War, or composed of disparate elements. Early examples of the surname include: Alexander Reygner (London, 1229); William Reyner (Staffordshire, 1286); and Anabilla Rayner (Yorkshire, 1379). Wassell Rayner, an early emigrant to the New World, appears on a list of those resident in Virginia on February 16th 1623. A Coat of Arms granted to the Rayner family is a silver shield with three fleurs-de-lis between eight crosses crosslet gules. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Rayner, which was dated 1216, in "Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses", Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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