This unusual and interesting name is of Norman, French origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called "Rievaulx" in North Yorkshire. The normal English vernacular pronunciation of the placename is 'Rivers', and this local form of the name has generated the phonetically-spelt surnames Rivis, Revis and Ryves. The placename was originally 'Ryedale', the valley of the (River) Rye, which was translated into the French "Rievaulx". The place is recorded in 1148 as "Rieuall", and in 1157 as "Rievalle". The river name "Rye" is from the ancient British (pre-Roman) and Welsh 'rhiw', meaning hill, ascent. The surname development has included Richard Ryvax (1414, Yorkshire), Thomas Revis (1588, ibid.) and Anne Revisse (1589, ibid.). Philip Ryves and Elizabeth Plumer were married in London on January 24th 1565, and one William Ryves was christened at Kirklington in Yorkshire, on May 1st 1568. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Ryvaus, which was dated 1333, in the Chartulary of the Abbey of Rievaulx, during the reign of King 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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