This interesting and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible meanings. The first of these is from the late Olde English pre 7th Century term "ridere", a derivative of "ridan", to ride, and is an occupational surname given originally to a mounted warrior or a messenger. After the Norman Conquest of 1066, however, and the introduction of their feudal system, the term "Rider" or "Ryder" was soon displaced by "Knight" in its growing sense of a tenant bound to serve his lord as a mounted soldier. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The second possible origin of the modern surname is from the Olde English "ried, ryd", clearing in a wood, used with the suffix "-er" as a topographical name denoting residence in or by such a clearing. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The modern surname can be found recorded as Rider, Ryder and Ridder. The marriage of John Ryder and Mary Wales was recorded at St. Nicholas', Cole Abbey, London, in January 1593. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas le Rider, which was dated 1204, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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