Reye History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Reye arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Reye family lived in Normandy at Rye, three leagues north of Bayeux. "Geoffrey de Rie was living c. 980. His son Odo Fitz Geoffrey gave half the church of Rie to Fescamp Abbey, which was confirmed 1027 by Richard II. of Normandy." [1]

"It was Hubert de Rie, who, in 1047, saved the life of the young Duke of Normandy he future Conqueror of England when flying from the conspirators of the Cotentin. He had made his escape by night from Valognes, without armour or attendants, and " dared not," says Wace, " turn towards Bayeux, for he knew not whom to trust, so he took the way which passes between Bayeux and the sea. And as he rode through Rie before the sun rose, Hubert de Rie stood at his gate, between the church and his castle, and saw Wilham pass in disorder, and that his horse was all in a sweat. ' How is it that you travel so, fair sire ? ' said he. ' Hubert,' said William, ' dare I tell you ?' Then Hubert said, "Of a truth, most surely ! say on boldly ! 'I will have no secrets with you; my enemies follow seeking me, and menace my life. I know that they have sworn my death.' " Then Hubert led him into his hostel, and gave him his good horse, and called forth his three sons. 'Fair sons,' said he, ' muntez ! muntez ! Behold your lord ; conduct him till ye have lodged him in Falaise. This way ye shall pass; it will be ill for you to touch upon any town.' So Hubert taught them well the ways and turnings ; and his sons understood all rightly, and followed his instructions exactly. They crossed all the country, passed Folpendant at the ford, and lodged William at Falaise." [2]

William never forgot the good deed. By the time of the Conquest, Hubert "was then an old man, and must have died before 1086, as his sons only are entered in Domesday. There were four: Ralph, Hubert, Adam, and Eudo, all of them magnificently endowed by the Conqueror." [2]

Early Origins of the Reye family

The surname Reye was first found in Norfolk, where Hubert de Ria was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1169. Matillis de la Rye was registered in Hampshire in 1237; William de Rye was found in the Feet of Fines for Essex in 1240; and Geoffrey ate Rye was listed in 1297. [3]

In addition to the Ryes of Whitwell in Derbyshire, William de Rye perhaps the same William mentioned in Norfolk was Conservator of York in 1287. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed: John de Rye, Lincolnshire; and John de la Rye, Kent. [4]

Rye in Sussex is probably related to the family. "This place, which belonged originally to the monastery of Feschamp, in Normandy, was at an early date, together with Winchelsea, annexed to the cinque-ports of England, in the charters granted to which these two towns are invariably styled 'ancient towns.' In the reign of Edward III., Rye was surrounded by a strong wall with several gates, of which that called the Land Gate, the only one remaining, now forms a beautiful entrance to the town from the London and Dovor roads. " [5]

Early History of the Reye family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reye research. Another 299 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1583, 1263, 1268, 1272, 1290, 1276, 1277, 1280, 1309 and 1461 are included under the topic Early Reye History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Reye Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Rye, Rie, Ries, Ryse, Rise and others.

Early Notables of the Reye family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Reye Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Reye family

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Reye or a variant listed above: George Rye who settled in New England in 1772; John and L. Rye settled in San Francisco in 1852.



  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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