This quite rare and interesting surname is not topographical. It has absolutely nothing to do with either 'swatting' or 'ridges'. It is in fact an early baptismal name and derives from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name 'Swetric.' This is compound of the two elements 'swet' meaning 'sweet' and 'ric' meaning ruler hence 'sweet-ruler'. Its earliest recording as a surname was in the early fourteenth century (see below). Perhaps not surprisingly there are many variant forms of the surname including Swatheridge, Swatridge, Swatradge and Swalteridge, all are rare in a national sense. Examples of the recordings include Sarah Swatridge who was baptised at St. Swithins church, Southwark on May 10th 1761, whilst William Swatridge was a witness at St Lukes church, Old Street, Finsbury, on March 13th 1767. A later recording is that of Henry, son of George and Ann Swatridge who was baptised on August 18th 1864 at St. Mary's Church, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Swetrich, which was dated 1309, in the Subsidy Rolls, Bedfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as 'Edward of Caernafon', 1307 - 1327. 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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