This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it may derive from "Rud", a pet form of the male given name Rudolph, the modern German form of "Hrodulf", fame-wolf, with the diminutive suffix "-kin". The first element may also be the nickname "Rudd", applied to a person with red hair or with a ruddy complexion. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "rud(ig)", Middle English "rudde", red or muddy, with "kin" as before. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. Gerard Rudd is noted in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire (1189). The surname is also found as Rudling. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include; John Rudkin who married Mary Lankester on May 9th 1596 at St. Margaret's, Westminster; their son Mathew who was christened at the same place on June 6th 1598; and Thomas Rudkin who married Jane Towsey on July 13th 1640 at All Saint's, Wandsworth. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family is a silver shield, on a black bend between two black lions rampant a silvern wivern with wings expanded, the Crest being a black dragon's head collared and chained gold, holding in the mouth a lion's gamb erased gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Rudkyn, which was dated November 9th 1561, marriage to Agnes Brinckhurst, at the church of St. Peter-le-Poer, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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