Recorded in many spellings including Ridge, Rudge, Rigg, Rigge, and the probably patronymic Ridges and Rudges, this is an English surname. It is residential or topographical for a person who lived at the ridge of a hill, or who came from one of the several places called Ridge, Ridge Hill, or The Ridge, found throughout England. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "hrycg", which in later Middle English changed to "rigge". In some northern areas which for centuries were under Scandinavian-Viking control the later surname may come from either the Norse "hryggr" or the Old Swedish "rygg", although the meanings in all cases are the same. Topographical features provided useful and obvious distinguishing surnames in the Middle Ages from residence close by a conspicuous tree, hill, track or bridge, for instance. Early examples of the surname recording include: Edith atte Rydge of Somerset in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of 1327, and Thomas Ridge, who married Jane Waters in London in 1620. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de la Rigge, which was dated 1166, in the Hampshire Pipe Rolls. This was during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as P*oll 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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