This interesting name is of Old Norse origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Rigby in Lancashire. The placename means "the homestead or village on the ridge", originally "the farm on the ridge", derived from the Old Norse elements "hryggr", ridge, back, and "by, byr", farm, homestead, and later, village. The place called Rigsby in Lincolnshire is named with the same elements, and may in some instances be the source for the modern surname Rigby or Rigeby. Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname was first recorded in 1208 (see below), and other early examples include: Henry de Ryggeby (1285, Lancashire), and Thomas Rygby (1453, Essex). Recordings from London Church Registers include the marriage of John Rigby and Margery Deacon in 1627. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name is described thus: Ar (silver) on a cross vert (green) five mullets or (gold); another, Ar. three bars dancettee az (azure) on a chief sa (black) as many cinquefoils or; another, Ar on a cross flory sa. five mullets or. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Rigebi, which was dated 1208, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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