This interesting surname is of English origin. It is locational and describes a person who came from a place called Rudland. However no such place is found recorded in any of the known gazetters of the British Isles, unless it be the county of Rutland. Assuming that this is not the case then the surname would seem to originate from one of the estimated three thousand villages and hamlets which have disappeared from the maps of Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the Enclosure Acts, which forced tenants off their lands to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 15th Century onwards. Other natural causes such as the plague known as the Black Death of 1348, also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The original place is believed to have been situated in the county of Essex, and the placename as Rudland is believed to be composed of the old English pre 7th Century elements "rudig", meaning red, and "land", an open field suitable for agriculture. The initial element may also be the old Scandinavian personal name "Rudda", which also means red. Early examples of the surname recordings include those of Mary Rudland, who married William Wilson at Maldon in Essex in 1589, whilst Elizabeth Rudland married Robert Wade at Wix, also in Essex in 1601. The first recorded spelling of the family name is possibly that of Grace Rudland, who married Thomas Upcher), at Wirenhoe, Essex, in 1579. This was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, 1558 - 1603. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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