It seems likely that the family name originated from a place name. There are several villages which include Revest as part of their name. It can be no coincidence that these villages in the south east corner of France are in the same area where most of the Revests continue to live. More research is needed to determine when all of these villages were founded and their relevance to our story.
The word Revest derives from the traditional language of Southern France, Occitan, in which revest, (a variant of revers), means a site exposed to the north.
- Revest-les-Roches is a small commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in South Eastern France, population around 200. The name of the village was first recorded in 1007 (Revestis). Its inhabitants are called Revestois.
- Le Revest-les-Eaux, population 3,750, lies in the Var department of the Provence-sur-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region of France.
- Revest-du-Bion, population around 500, is a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, in the south of France
- Revest-des-Brousses, population around 250,is a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
- Revest-Saint-Martin, population less than 100, in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
I assume that Ravest/Revest are alternative spellings. However, without more information, I cannot assume that all Revests are actually of the same family as they may originate from different villages.
The earliest reference that I have found so far is of Raymond de Revest de la Roque, born 1220. A later individual, Raymond de la Roque de Revest is recorded as dying in 1316. Both presumably derive their name from the first village mentioned above.
Pierre Mathei du Revest was born in Jura, 1450, and died in Paris,1544.
Hugues Ribier Revest, born in Var, South of France, 1475. He died in 1546.