This rare surname, with variant spellings Rutledge, Rudledge, Rookledge, Routledge and Rucklidge, is chiefly found on the English\Scottish borders, and is believed to be of topographical origin from residence by a borders stream named with the Northern Medieval English 'rout', itself coming from the Scandinavian 'ruta' meaning a roar of loud noise, plus the Medieval English 'lache' or 'leche', a stream. There is a place in Cumbria called Routledge Burn, but surname derivation from this spot is unlikely as the place was not recorded until the 16th Century, and the surname first appears on record in Scotland towards the end of the 15th Century, (see below). One, David Routlesche was bailie to James Douglas of Caver in 1512, and a William of Retleche or Routleth was recorded in 'Placenames of Cumbria' circa 1520. In 1537 Martin de Rotheluche, a Scot, was procurator of the Scottish Nation in the University of Orleans and one, Elizabeth Ratledge was christened on March 21st 1640, at St. Giles, Cripplegate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Symon Routlage, charged with the spoil of certain goods, which was dated 1494 - in the 'Acta Dominorum Concilia', (1478 - 1495), during the reign of King James 1V of Scotland, 1488 - 1513. 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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