This interesting surname may be a topographical name from the West Midlands for someone who lived by a ridge, or it may be a locational name from Ridge in Gloucestershire and Shropshire (recorded as Rigge in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as Rugge in the Pipe Rolls of 1188), deriving from the middle English "Rugge", old English pre 7th Century "hrycg" meaning "ridge". Secondly, it may be a diminutive of the medieval given name Roger, itself coming from the Germanic personal name composed of the elements "hrod" meaning "renown" plus "geri, gari" spear and was introduced into England by the Normans in the form Rog(i)er.Finally, it may be a nickname for a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion, deriving from the old French "r(o)uge" meaning "red". The surname dates back to the late 12th Century, (see below). Further recordings include William de Rugge (1196) "the Pipe Rolls of Staffordshire", and Osbert le Rugg (1275), "the Hundred Rolls of Kent". One Elizabeth Rudge married John Wood on May 17th 1607 at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London. Thomas Rudge, an emigrant to the New World was granted a ticket from the Barbados aboard the "Brother's Adventure" bound for New York on July 17th 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Rugge, which was dated 1195, The Pipe Rolls of Devonshire, during the reign of King Richard 1st, "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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