Recorded as Reading, Readings, Redding, Reddin, Reddings, Reddinges and others, this is an English surname. It is either topographical from residence in a clearing, from the pre 7th Century word ryding, or a locational name from the parish and town of Reading in Berkshire. This is recorded as Readingum in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 872 a.d. and as Reddinges in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. The town was named from the Readingas, a tribe who had auburn hair and a ruddy complexion, and were probably Anglo-Saxons. Topographical surnames provided obvious and convenient means of identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages, whilst locational names were chiefly given as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Richard del Ryding of Yorkshire in 1277, and Henry de Reding, the rector of Matlask, Norfolk in 1305. An early settler in the New World colonies was James Redding, who embarked from London on the ship "Bonaventure", bound for Virginia in January 1634. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Grifin del Ruding. This was dated 1246, in the Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.
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