This is a very old English topographical surname for someone who lived on or by a "ridge" or "back". The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "hrycg", ridge, in Middle English, "rigge", although in some areas of concentrated Scandinavian settlement the name may come from either the Olde Norse "hryggr" or the Old Swedish "rygg". 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. In the "modern" idiom, there are a number of variants of the name:- "Ridge, Rigg(e), Riggs, Rudge, Ruggs and Atteridge". In September 1555, Jenet Rigg and William Sowraie were married in Ulverston, Lancashire, and in 1590 Clement Rigg of Hawkshed was recorded in the Lancashire' Wills Records at Richmond. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de la Rigge, which was dated 1166, The Hampshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry II, The Builder of Churches, 1154 - 1189. 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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