This most interesting and ancient surname, with variant spellings ranging from Reynalds, Rennnolds, and Renals, to Rennels, Runnalls, and Reynoldson, is considered English, but with Norse-Norman antecedents.
It is a patronymic form (i.e. "son of") of Reynold, which itself derives from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements "ragin", meaning "counsel", and "wald", meaning "rule". This type of name was very popular at the period, most being made up of elements indicating god like powers, war or power. This is one of the more restrained forms.
Introduced into England by 8th century Viking "settlers" in the form of "Rognvaldr", the Normans brought their version as version "Reinald" in 1066.
Early examples of the recordings include John Reynold, in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1273, and John Reynalds in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275. Ricardus Raynoldson is recorded in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, whilst Robert Reyghnoldes was married in London in 1617.
Later recordings include Robert Rennel, who was married at St Vedasts church, London, in 1772, whilst on January 3rd 1849, Richard Runnalls was a witness at St Pancras Olde Church, London.
The first known name holder settler in New England was Robert Reynolds, who in the very earliest register of Virginia, is recorded as 'being dead at ye plantacon over against James Cittie' on February 16th 1623.
The first known coat of arms probably granted by King Edward 111 (1327 - 1377) has the blazon of an ermine field, charged with a red chevronel, and a chief indented in black.
The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wilham Reynand, which was dated 1273, in the "Records of Hornchurch Priory, Essex", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax.
See the Reynolds family Project.
- William Reynolds Immigrated to America and helped found Providence, Rhode Island
- George Reynolds of Kent came to what is now New England and Virginia