Recorded in several spelling forms including Rudgard, Rudgerd, Rudeyeard, and Rudyard, this is an English surname. It is locational and originates from the village of Rudyard in the county of Staffordshire. This village is one of the most ancient recorded appearing in the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, sometimes called the first newspaper, in the year 1002. Meaning the lake (yard) where fish (rudd) were farmed, it is later recorded as Rudierd in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as Rudeyard in the charter rolls of 1330. Locational surnames are by their nature "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homestead, often in search of work, and took up residence elesewhere. The simplest way to identify such "strangers" was to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best indifferent and local accents very thick, soon lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. In this case the surname is quite well recorded in the surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London. Examples include: Richard Rudeyeard at St Brides church, Fleet Street, on January 27th 1656, and John Rudgard, the son of Valentine Rudgard, christened at St Pauls church, Covent Garden, on February 5th 1724.
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