Rhead History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

When the ancestors of the Rhead family emigrated to England following the Norman Conquest in 1066 they brought their family name with them. They lived in Lincolnshire at Rhoades, but more often than not, the name originates in the West Riding of Yorkshire. [1] The name literally means "dweller by the clearing(s)" from the Old English word "rod(u)." [2] As to confirm this meaning of the name, another source notes "a topographic name for someone who lived by a clearing in the woodland." [3] [4] Accordingly, one must dispel the rather obvious assumption that the name was derived from Rhodes, in the Mediterranean Sea. [5]

The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford that was established in 1902, by English businessman and politician Cecil John Rhodes (1853-1902.)

Early Origins of the Rhead family

The surname Rhead was first found in Yorkshire. "Roads is a numerous Bucks [(Buckinghamshire)] name. There are hamlets and villages called Rhodes in Lancashire and the West Riding. A family named Rodes or De Rodes flourished for 500 or 600 years in Lincolnshire, Notts [(Nottinghamshire)], Yorkshire, and Derbyshire: they were descended from Gerard de Rodes, a distinguished Baron of the 12th century. " [1]

While we can find places named Rhodes in the United States, Australia and South Africa, we cannot find any in England today, nor can we find Rhoades in Lincolnshire. However, a second source notes the Yorkshire reference as follows: "This was a common Yorkshire entry, and explains the large number of Rhodes in the West Riding Directory." [6]

As if to help us through this confusion, one source confirms that the first listing of the name was indeed found in Yorkshire as in Hugh de Rodes who was listed in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219. A few years later, Alexander de la rode was listed in 1277 in Norfolk. John atte Rode was listed in Bedfordshire in 1294 and Robert del Rodes was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire in 1332. [2]

Early History of the Rhead family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rhead research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1591, 1550, 1674, 1668, 1663 and 1664 are included under the topic Early Rhead History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rhead Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Rhead has been recorded under many different variations, including Rhodes, Rhoades, Rhode, Rhoads, Roades, Roads and others.

Early Notables of the Rhead family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Hugh Rhodes ( fl. 1550), an English author of the 'Book of Nurture,' 'born and bred in' Devonshire, a gentleman of the king's chapel. [7] John Rhoades, was an early American fur trader from New England, who was part of Jurriaen...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rhead Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rhead migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Rheads were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Rhead Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mrs. Rhead, aged 24, who arrived in America from England, in 1903
  • Mr. William Bertrand Rhead, aged 27, who arrived in America from Newcastle, in 1904
  • Clara Rhead, aged 26, who arrived in America from Harley, England, in 1904
  • George Rhead, aged 50, who arrived in America, in 1906
  • Harry George Rhead, aged 26, who arrived in America from Newcastle, Staffordshire, England, in 1908
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Rhead (post 1700) +

  • Louis John Rhead (1857-1926), English-born American poster artist, illustrator, author and angler
  • Frederick Hurten Rhead (1880-1942), English potter, son of Frederick Alfred Rhead, founder of Rhead Pottery (1913-1917)
  • Frederick Alfred Rhead (1856-1933), English potter working in North Staffordshire, father of Charlotte Rhead
  • Charlotte Rhead (1885-1947), English ceramics designer
  • Matthew James "Matt" Rhead (b. 1984), English professional footballer for Mansfield Town


The Rhead Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Robor meum Deus
Motto Translation: Strength through God.


  1. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Hanks Patricia, Flavia Hodges, Mills A.D., Room Adrian, The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7)
  4. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  5. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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