This interesting and long-established surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Riddall may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational name from any of the various places in Northern England and Scotland named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "ryge", rye, and "dael", valley, cognate with the Old Scandinavian "dal(r)". These places include: Rydal (Westmorland); Ryedale (the North Riding of Yorkshire); Riddell, south west of Lilliesleaf in Roxburghshire; and the ancient seat of Ryedale in Kirkcudbrightshire. Locational names were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. The second possibility is that Riddall derives from the Old French personal byname "Ridel", literally meaning "small hill", and used here in a transferred sense to describe a rotund or stockily-built man. One Ridel Papillun was noted in the 1163 Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire. Early examples of the surname include: Goisfridus Ridel (the Domesday Book of 1086 for Cheshire); Alan de Ridale (Yorkshire, 1160); and William Rydale (Essex, 1338). Sara Riddall, an early settler in America, was recorded on a "List of the Living in Virginia" on Februray 16th 1623. A Coat of Arms granted to the Riddall family is described thus: "Sable, on a fess between three owls argent five crosses formee of the first". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Galfridus Ridel, which was dated 1048, in "Ancient Records of Scotland", during the reign of MacBeth, known as "The Usurper", 1040 - 1057. 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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