Blazons & Genealogy Notes
(Usk, co. Monmouth, Cardiff, co. Glamorgan, and Longtown, co. Hereford). Azure a lion ramp, or, a bordure argent charged with eight annulets sable. Crest—A wivern sejant vert, wings elevated, holding in the mouth a spearhead argent embrued gules. Motto—Respice futurum.
Origin, Meaning, Family History and Reece Coat of Arms and Family Crest
The name Reece is of Old Welsh origin. It is one of the names from the original tribes of the Britons who inhabited the area we know today as the United Kingdom, prior to the Norman invasion led by William the Conqueror. In its earliest incarnation the spelling of the name appeared as either either “Ris” or “Rhys”, the translation of which means “intense” or “fierce warrior”. Several kings of Wales prior to the Norman conquest bore the name Rhys, they were Rhys ab Owain and his cousin Rhys ap Tewdwr.
Rhys ap Tewdwr was the last king of Wales, while initially after the invasion Rhys had an alliance with the Normans, it wasn’t long before this relationship became strained. Rhys was eventual murdered by the Normans who had taken up residence in Wales. Once Rhyes was gone it was not long before the remaining Briton kingdoms succumbed to Norman rule.
The Normans did allow Gruffyd, Rhys’ oldest son, to keep a small area of what had been his father’s kingdom. It is through this son that the Tudor (Tewdwr) dynasty of the United Kingdom grew.
Rhys’ only legitimate daughter, Nest or Nesta, was married to Gerald de Windsor the constable of Windsor Castle. de Windsor was an antecedent of the FitzGerald dynasty which conquered Ireland and the noble Carew family found in the peerages of Ireland.
Variations in the name’s spelling exists, as with many names which date back to the early centuries and ancient times. The variation in the spelling of names during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in Britain after the Norman conquest. The variations in the spelling of the name include Reece, Reese, Rees, Rhys, Ap Rhys, Rice, and Ris among others.
One of the earliest recordings of any variation of the spelling of the surname’s use in England dates to 1203 where the name of William Res appears in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire. In 1288 the name of John Rees is found in the Fine Court Rolls of Suffolk and Walter Rees’ name appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire of 1327.
The first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname Reece or any variation of its spelling were Roger and Gennet Reece who came to America somewhere between 1654 and 1679. Ann Reece arrived in New England in 1662 and Richard Reece landed and settled in New England in 1668.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Reece live in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Reece live in North Carolina.
People of note who bear the surname Reece include, Sir James Gordon Reece of Great Britain. Gordon Reece originally attended Cambridge where he studied law before deciding on a career as a journalist and television producer. During the 1979 general election he became a political strategist for Margret Thatcher and was credited with helping her to win the election for Prime Minister of England. In reward for civilian service to his country, Reece was knighted in 1986.
Jane B. Reece, Ph. D., is an American scientist and author of text books. Reece attended Harvard University where she received her bachelor’s degree in biology. She attended Rutgers University where she earned a masters in microbiology and then went on to the University of California at Berkeley where she received her doctorate in bacteriology. Dr. Reece has since worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University researching genetics as well as taught at various universities and colleges.
Many American politicians and leaders have carried the surname Reese. Thomas Reece is an American politician who has served his state of Illinois as the delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1996 and 2000. Philip Reece was an American politician and member of the New York State Assembly representing the 31st district of New York County in 1907. Norman H. Reece is an American politician from California where he was a candidate in 1996 and 1998 for the Office of U.S. Representative as well as having served as a delegate for California to the Republican National Convention in 2008.
Lewis Reece is from Wales and is a Welsh rugby league player. During his career he has played for both Wales and Great Britain. In 2014 he was a member of the Welsh national rugby team which played for the European Cup.
Reece Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Reece blazon are the wyvern, lion and annulet. The two main tinctures (colors) are azure and or.
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli . Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” .
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa . The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo..
Nowadays we might conflate many mythical creatures under the heading of dragon but to the heraldic artists there was a whole menagerie of quite distinct beasts, the wyvern being one of them. Whilst both the dragon and wyvern are winged and scaled, the wyvern stands on two legs rather than four. Wade suggests, somewhat plausibly that both creatures may have arisen through garbled descriptions of the crocodile.
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose xz`, and the annulet is a good example, being a circular ring of any colour. They also appear interlaced or one within the other, both of which are very pleasing additions. Wade believes that these were one of the symbols of ancient pilgrims.