This long-established surname, widely recorded in the northern English counties, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either a topographical name from residence by a cleared area of land, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ryding", cleared land, or a locational name from any of the various places named with this element. These places include: Riddings in Derbyshire, recorded as "Rydynges" in the 1296 Feet of Fines for that county; Riddings, north of Carlisle in Cumberland; and Riding in Northumberland.Topographical surnames were among the earliest created since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages; and locational names were originally given to local landowners, the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: William atte Rydyng (Staffordshire, 1337), and Isolda Riddyng (Yorkshire, 1379). On March 7th 1567, Robert, son of John Ridings, was christened at Longford, Derbyshire, and on September 25th 1582, the marriage of Robert Ridings to Issabell Birch took place at Manchester Cathedral, Lancashire. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a silver shield with a pheon between three boars' heads erased sable, the Crest being a griffin's head erased argent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Grifin 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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