This unusual surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, is a Scottish locational surname from the lands, now the village of Redpath in the parish of Earlston in the former county of Berwickshire. The placename means "the red path" and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century words "read", red and "paedth", path and is pronounced locally as "Rippath" as some of the later recordings of the name reflect. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their bithplace. One Thomas de Redpethe and his wife, Mariota, were granted lands in the "vill and territory" of Preston in the "Barony of Bonkylle" by Thomas Stewart, Earl of Angus, in 1376. The name development has included "Redpeth" (1486), "Redpetht" (1516), "Rippeth" (1562) and "Ridpeth" (1633). There are two variants of the name today, Redpath and Ridpath. One George Ridpath published a "Border History of England and Scotland" in 1776. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Redepathe, rendered homage, which was dated 1296, in "Documents relating to Scotland in the Public Record Office", during the reign of King John Baliol of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. 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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