Rousay History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Soon after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the name Rousay was recognized on the island as a name for a person with red hair which was in turn derived from the Old French nickname le rous, meaning redhead. Another equally valid derivation suggests that the name is a shortened form of the Norman given name Rufus.

Early Origins of the Rousay family

The surname Rousay was first found in Devon. The first on record was Radulphus le Rufus, a knight in the train of William the Conqueror who became one of the Justices Itinerant of the counties of Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall temp. Henry II. It is from this eminent person that the family of Edmerston and Halton, co. Devon descend. [1]

"Rouse or Rowse is the name of an ancient Cornish family of Halton. Antony Rouse or Rowse, of Halton, was High Sheriff in the reign of Elizabeth. " [2]

"The manor of Helston, which was always considered as belonging to the dutchy, was alienated during the usurpation of Cromwell, when it was sold to Anthony Rowse; but on the restoration of the Stuarts, it returned again into its original channel. This manor was sold in the year 1798, under the Land-tax redemption act, to John Rogers, Esq. of Penrose, who is the present proprietor." [3]

Some of the family were also found at early time further north at Mearly in Lancashire. "The chief part of the township was granted by Jordan le Rous to Stephen, afterwards called de Merley, whose daughter married Adam de Nowell, and carried the Hall and manor into that family, 38th of Edward III." [4]

And still farther north, Rousay and Eagleshay is a parish, in the North Isles of the county of Orkney, Scotland. [5]

By the time of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the popularity of the name was evident. That rolls included: Alexander le Rous, Cambridgeshire; Juliana la Rouse, Oxfordshire; Alicia Rouze, Cambridgeshire; John le Rus, Lincolnshire; Gilbert Russ, Lincolnshire; and Lucia la Russe, Oxfordshire. [6]

Early History of the Rousay family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rousay research. Another 290 words (21 lines of text) covering the years 1579, 1659, 1608, 1670, 1656, 1730, 1776, 1731, 1411, 1491, 1411, 1574, 1652, 1600, 1579, 1659, 1618, 1680, 1660, 1645, 1626, 1605, 1677, 1653, 1660, 1608, 1676, 1654, 1660 and 1650 are included under the topic Early Rousay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rousay Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Rous, Rouse, Rowse and others.

Early Notables of the Rousay family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Rous or Ross (c. 1411-1491), the English antiquary of Warwick, born at Warwick about 1411, was son of Geoffrey Rous, a descendant of the Rowses or Rouses of Brinkelow, Warwickshire; John Russe or Rouse (1574-1652), Bodley's librarian, born in Northamptonshire, Fellow of Oriel College in 1600; Francis Rous (1579-1659), English hymnist, fourth son of Sir Anthony Rous of Halton St. Dominick, Cornwall; John Rous (c 1618-1680), an English politician, Member of...
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rousay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Rousay family

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Rousay or a variant listed above: John Rous, who settled in New England in 1675; Michael Rous settled in Barbados in 1670; Lawrence, Michael and Stephen Rous settled in Philadelphia in 1738.



The Rousay 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: Vescitur Christo
Motto Translation: He feeds on Christ.


  1. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, 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)


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