This surname, of ancient origins, derives from the Olde English words "ryddan", translating as "land cleared for farming", or "rydding", which strictly describes a clearing. Both words have as their origin the Norse-Scandinavian "rydia", the original meaning of which was "to strip" or "plunder". As the early recordings are almost all from areas under pre 11th Century "Viking" control the association is confirmed. In effect, therefore, a Riden or Ridon was a person who lived on land or in an enclosure which had been cleared for farming. It is possible that some nameholders may derive from the Olde English "riding", a word meaning "a third part", and now associated only with Yorkshire, but originally of other areas as well. An example is that of Isolda de Fiddyng, who is recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax Rolls, and Richard del Ryding, of Wakefield, who might have come from either a Riding or a Ryddan. Other recordings include: Raphe Riddinge, of Holborn, London, in 1574, and Rebecca Riden, who was christened at St. Giles' Cripplegate, also in London, on November 24th 1668, in the reign of Charles 11 (1660 - 1685). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Griffin 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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