While the name Rouse was introduced into England at the time of the Norman conquest led by William the Conqueror, it is derived from the Latin word Rufus which when translated means”red”. The Normans are thought to have used the term “rouse” which translates to “red hair” in reference to many of the conquered Anglo-Saxons who had red hair.
Variations in the name's spelling exists, as with many names which date back to the early centuries. 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 English spelling of the name include Rouse, Rous, Russ, Ruse, and Rowse among others. There are also numerous French forms of the name as well; Roue, de Riou, Rioux, Rieux, and Rou. The name has also lent itself as the prefix to certain names; such as, Roswell, Ruskin, Roukin, Rousell, and Russell.
One of the earliest recordings of any variation of the spelling of the name was Radulphus (Ralph) le Rufus, a knight in the service of William the Conqueror. le Rufus was made a Justice Itinerant in Wiltshire, Cornwall, Dorset, Devon, and Somerset counties. His antecedents became the noble family of Stradbroke in the county of Suffolk. In 1660 John Rous, a decedent of le Rufus, was given the title of Baronetcy of Henham in Suffolk County. Rous was succeeded by his two sons, a nephew and his nephews son, also named John, who was titled 1st Baron of Rous, Earl of Stradbroke in 1821 at which time he was also made Viscount Dunwich. The current Lord Stradbroke, (Robert) Keith Rous, lives in Victoria, Australia. The heir apparent to the title is his eldest son, Robert Keith Rous, Viscount Dunwich.
Another early recording of any variation(s) in spelling of the name appears in the Battle Abbey Roll. The names listed are Le comte Alain Le Roux and Turchil Le Rous as well as Hugue de Rousel. The Battle Abbey Roll is a list of those who were said to have followed and fought for William the Bastard of Falaise, Duke of Normandy during the Battle of Hastings. William, Duke of Normandy who later become King William I of England rewarded the loyalty of those who fought with him with property and titles.
Admiral The Honorable Henry John Rous, a descendant of le Rufus, was a distinguished member and officer of the British Royal Navy, an explorer, and later a member of Parliament. Rous' naval career included service during the Napoleonic Wars. He also credited with leading an expedition in New South Wales, Australia where he discovered and named the Richmond River.
The family seat of the Rous family is Henham Park, an estate which lies to the north of Blythburgh village in Suffolk county. The property was purchased in 1554 by Sir Anthony Rous, Knight of Dennington and has remained in the Rous family since that time. The Tudor house which stood on the property when Rous purchased it, was considered one of the finest examples of Tudor architecture of its time was unfortunately destroyed by a fire in 1773. Due to the enormous cost the loss of the house represented in revenue generated by the estate, a new house was not built until 1790. This structure was remodeled in 1858. Upon orders of the Fourth Earl of Stradbroke, this structure was demolished in 1953. While the estate no longer has a manor, the property remains a working farm as well as a location for several annual events; The Latitude Music Festival and The Grand Henham Steam Rally.
The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the name Rouse was a Thomas Rouse. He arrived in 1638 and settled in Virginia.
Places associated with the surname of Rouse:
Blythburg, Battle Abbey, Dennington, Devonshire, Hastings, Henham Park, House of Commons (Parliament) House of Lords, Suffolk, Surrey, France, Peninsula War/ Napoleonic Wars of Europe,
Royal personages associated with the surname of Rouse:
William the Conqueror, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, William Rufus, and all English and later British monarchs to the present Queen Elizabeth II.
Notable people by the surname of Rouse:
The Rouse name is well represented in modern culture as well, from athletics to the arts from scholars to businessmen. Curtis Rouse, Fred Rouse, and Robbie Rouse are all noted athletes. Charlie Rouse, Christopher Rouse, and Mikel Rouse are all respected musicians and composers. Physicist, Prince E. Rouse, is one of the most highly regarded acedemics in his field, as is English classic scholar and teacher, W. H. D. Rouse, and Yale professor and archaeologist Irving Rouse. Willard Rouse was an American real estate developer and businessman, who concentrated on developing and modernizing urban areas in Philadelphia as well as select cities in other states, as well. James Wilson Rouse was also an American real estate developer, and philanthropist. James Rouse primary interest was developing planned communities for urban areas. He build residential developments that would create and instill a sense of community in those that lived there as well as provide decent housing for the residents. His first development was called the Village of Cross Keys located in Baltimore.