Recorded as Roe, Row, Rowe, and the rare dialectal spelling of Wroe, this is an English surname. It has several possible origins. Perhaps the most likely is as a medieval nichkname from the Old French word "roi", meaning king, and hence denoting someone who behaved in a regal fashion, or who had earned the title in some contest of skill or by being elected "King for the day" in a local festivitial. Secondly and also a nickname it could derive from the Olde English pre 7th century word "roege", meaning "roe deer", and hence describe a fast mover. Thje surname is ancient being one of the first created in the late 11th Century (see below), and early recordings include: William le Roe the Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire in 1170, and Reginald le Ro , in the "Kalendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk in 1188. In parish records Elizabeth Roe was christened on September 27th 1553 at the church of St. Mary Magdalene's, Old Fish Street, and Edward Wroe married Ann Arnoll on April 30th 1592 at the church of St. Stephan's, Coleman Street, both in the city of London. A coat of arms was granted to the family depicts three silver bucks courant on a blue shield, the crest being a red stag's head erased, and the Motto "Tramite recta" which translates as "By a direct path". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ului Ra. This was dated 1095, in the Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk", during the reign of King William 11nd, known as "Rufus", 1087 - 1100. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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