Recorded as Readwin, Readwing, Redwin, and Redwing, this is a surname of truly ancient English origins. It has nothing whatsoever to do with a bird, red or otherwise, but derives from the pre 5th century personal name "Raed-wine." This translates literally as "Counsel-friend", and is a rare survivor of the pre Christian personal names, usually compounds, which were created from elements connected with often contradictory meanings such as war, peace, godliness, strength, power and many others. Most of these Anglo-Saxon names disappeared after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, when it became politically correct to adopt French names. These in turn were greatly diminished by the large scale introduction of biblical and Greek names associated with Christianity, following the famous and highly unsuccessful Crusades to free the Holy Land from the Muslims in the 12th century. This personal name became a surname at about this time although the first recording of Readwinus de Broc, a Knight Templar or Crusader, recorded in the rolls of Suffolk in 1185 is not a surname, although Richard Redwynne of Cambridge, appears in perhaps the first hereditary surname recording in 1254.
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