This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name for someone who lived by a field where rye was grown. The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "rygen", an agent derivative of "ryge", rye, and "aecer", field, cultivated land, acre(s). Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. In some instances, the surname may be locational from Renacres, near Liverpool, which was recorded as "Runacres" in 1284, and has the same derivation. Richard de Reinacre is noted in the 1261 Assize Rolls of Lancashire, and William Renacles is listed in the Register of the Freemen of the City of Leicester (1500). In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings, ranging from Runacres, Runagle and Runnagall, to Runnicles and Ranigar. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Timothy Runacles and Ann Atkins, which took place on August 20th 1786, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and the marriage of Emma Ellener Runnicles and Edmund Dann on August 17th 1868, at St. James', Paddington. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Ruynacres, which was dated 1246, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire", 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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