This unusual name it is claimed, is a nickname for a person with red hair. Certainly it derives from the Old French pre 10th century word 'Rous' translating as red, but the precise meaning is open to some conjecture. Our opinion is that in many cases it would be a term perhaps of derision, by a Norman invader, for an Anglo-Saxon, since these people had red hair. What is certain is that the name had considerable popularity, and today as a surname is recorded as Rouse, Rous, Roux, Russ, Ruse, and possibly other spellings, in addition to the diminutives Ruskin, Roukin, Russell, Rousell, etc. Early examples of the name recordings include John Russe who was recorded in the 'Book of Fees for Wiltshire' in the year 1218, whilst in 1285, Margareta le Ruse appears in the Feudal Rolls of Staffordshire. Later examples are those of Edward Russ who married Elizabeth Willoughby at St. Benets church, Pauls Wharf, London, on November 24th 1724, whilst in 1834, Benjamin Ruse married Eliza King at All Souls Church, St. Mary le Bone, London. The name was early into the new American Colonies, Roger Ruese being recorded as 'living in James Cittie, Virginea' on February 18th 1623. The coat of arms has the blazon of a blue field, a gold saltire between four cross crosslets fitchee in silver, and is very much the coat of arms of a member of the church. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wilkin Rous, which was dated 1225, a witness at the Assize Court 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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