This interesting and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a dialectal variant of the name Redwood, topographical for a dweller by a red wood, referring, probably, to birch trees in the spring, when the new growth has a reddish tinge. It may also be a locational name from some minor place named with the elements, which derive from the Old English pre 7th Century 'read', red, and 'wudu', wood. In the modern idiom the variants include Rid(e)wood, Readwood and Redwood. Topographical names are some of the earliest names to be created, as topographical features, whether natural or manmade, provided obvious and convenient means of identification. Among the early recordings in London is the marriage between Thomas Ridewood and Jane Boulton on November 25th 1791 at St. Mary's, St. Marylebone. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robarde Redwood (christening), which was dated April 25th 1568, St. Michael's, Bassishaw, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 'Good Queen Bess', 1558-1603. 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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