This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant of the more familiar Reading, itself either a topographical name from residence in a clearing, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ryding", clearing, or a locational name from the parish and town of Reading in Berkshire. Recorded as "Readingum" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, dated 872, and as "Reddinges" in the Domesday Book of 1086, the place was so called from the Olde English "Readingas", the people of Read(a), a byname formed from "read", red, given to one with auburn hair, or a ruddy complexion. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient means of identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages, and 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 (Yorkshire, 1277), and Henry de Reding, rector of Matlask, Norfolk (1305). An early settler in the New World was James Redding, aged 19 yrs., who embarked from London on the ship "Bonaventure", bound for Virginia in January 1634, and a notable namebearer was the journalist and bookmaker, Cyrus Redding (1785 - 1870). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Grifin del Ruding, which was dated 1246, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.
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