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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Riding family come from? What is the English Riding family crest and coat of arms? When did the Riding family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Riding family history?

The ancestors of the name Riding date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Riding family lived in the village of Reading found in the county of Berkshire. The surname Riding is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. In this case the surname was originally derived from the Old English word rydding which simply refers to an area that has been cleared.

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It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Riding are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Riding include: Reading, Reding, Redding, Reddin and others.

First found in Sussex. One of the earliest records of the surname was John of Reading (Latin: Johannes de Reading, Johannes Radingia) who died 1346. He was an English Franciscan theologian and scholastic philosopher and follower of Duns Scotus. He wrote a commentary on the Four Books of Sentences written by Peter Lombard around 1320, at the University of Oxford. In 1322, he accepted a teaching position at Avignon and it was there that he died.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Riding research. Another 169 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1588, 1667, 1645, 1692, 1674, 1677, 1686, 1767, 1747, 1748, 1757 and 1758 are included under the topic Early Riding History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 73 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Riding Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Riding or a variant listed above:

Riding Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Andrew Riding, who landed in Frederick County, Maryland in 1797

Riding Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Joseph Riding, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876
  • John Riding, aged 50, who emigrated to America, in 1896

Riding Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Emma A. Riding, aged 40, who settled in America from Northwich, in 1906
  • Harold Riding, aged 1, who settled in America from Blackburn, England, in 1907
  • Albert Riding, aged 33, who settled in America from Blackburn, England, in 1907
  • George G. Riding, aged 51, who emigrated to the United States from Acorington, England, in 1909
  • Annie Riding, aged 7, who emigrated to America from Oswaldtwistle, England, in 1911


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  • Laura Riding (1901-1991), American poet
  • Joanna Riding (b. 1967), award-winning English actress
  • Air Marshal Douglas John Stuart Riding AO, DFC (b. 1943), retired senior Royal Australian Air Force commander and a former Vice Chief of the Defence Force


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Dieu defende la droit
Motto Translation: God defends the right.

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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  5. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  6. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Riding Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Riding Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 October 2014 at 08:22.

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