This unusual and interesting surname is of Old French origin, and is a metonymic occupational name for a metalworker or riveter. The derivation is from the Middle English and Old French "rivet, revette", small nail or bolt, from the Old French "river", to fix, secure. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. In medieval society, the riveter would have been chiefly engaged in the making of arms and armour, and consequently his skills would be highly regarded, and greatly sought after. Early examples of the surname include: Richard le Reveter, noted in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York, dated 1314, and John Reveter, the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire (1381). A notable bearer of the name (and profession), was John Rivett or Revett (1624 - 1674), the brazier, who concealed, and in 1660, handed over to Charles 11, the brazen statue of Charles 1, which the parliament, on Charles 1's execution, sold him as old metal and ordered to be destroyed. A Coat of Arms granted to the Rivett families of Stowmarket, Suffolk, and Chippenham, Cambridgeshire, is a shield divided quarterly with three black bars in the first and fourth silver quarters, in chief as many trivets of the last. The second and third quarters are sub-divided per pale silver and black, with three martlets all counterchanged on a chevron between as many lozenges, the Crest being an arm erect holding in the hand a broken sword. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Ryvet, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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