Rea Family History
The family history of the ancient name Rea
was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. Meaning 'the roe', Rea is a nickname for someone of a gentle disposition. Variants of this name include Ray, Raye, Rey, Reavy and Wray. This name is of Anglo-Norman descent spreading to Ireland, Scotland and Wales in early times and is found in many mediaeval manuscripts in these countries. Examples of such are a Reginald le Raye, County Oxfordshire, who was recorded in the 'Hundred Rolls', England, in the year 1273. A William le Ray was recorded in the ancient book 'Kirby's Quest in the reign of Edward III. In Scotland a Thomas filius Ray witnessed a confirmation by Alexander, son of Walter, of his father's gift to the Church of Paisley in the year 1239.
In Ireland this name and its variants were introduced into Ulster Province by settlers who arrived from England and Scotland, especially during the seventeenth century. During the 'Plantations of Ireland' in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Ireland was colonized by the English Crown with this period marking the end of Gaelic supremacy in Ireland. This period brought an influx of settlers into the country but, unlike the earlier Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century that resulted in a full integration into Irish society of the new arrivals, the same never occurred with the Ulster Planters who maintained their own distinct identity.
Rea is also an abbreviated form of McCrea in County Antrim. The Rea
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Rea