Riddel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Riddel was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Riddel family lived in Yorkshire at Ryedale or in Westmorland at Rydal with Loughrigg. The name Riddell and its variants occur in both locations. Riddel is a classic example of an English polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.

The family is "descended from the ancient Counts of Angouleme, who claim to have received their fief from Charles the Bald in 866. The surname was first assumed about 1048 by Galfrid or Geoffrey, the second son of Count Galfrid,who had for his inheritance the barony of Blaye in Guienne, and married the heiress of Perigord." [1]

Early Origins of the Riddel family

The surname Riddel was first found in Aquitaine where this baronial name was derived from a Gothic race. It was here that the Baron of Blaye (c. 1030) granted lands to the Abbey of Fons Dulcis near Bordeaux. This grant was confirmed by Gerald de Blavia and one of his sons Geoffre Rudelli (Ridel.) The latter lived 1079-1099 and left for Scotland during the time of King David I. Upon his arrival, he received grants of lands. He was the ancestor of the Riddells, Baronets. [2]

"Almost all the versions of the Battle Abbey Roll include the name of Ridel. By reference to the first volume of "Pipe Rolls," edited by Mr. Stapleton, it will be seen at p. 119, that Geoffrey Ridel rendered account for himself and for Geoffrey de St. Denis of forty shillings for two copes. It was by this tenure that the fief of Blosseville in the pays de Caux, was held, which gave to the possessor in later times the title of Vicomte hereditaire, Chatelain et Seigneur Haut Justicier de Blosseville. This entry proves that the Ridels originally existed in Normandy. The first of the race, explicitly proved to have been settled in Scotland, is Gervasius Ridel, the earliest High Sheriff of Rosburghshire. The Norman Ridel was ancestor also of the eminent Northumbrian House of Riddell of Fenham and Swinburne Castle." [3]

Stephen Ridell was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1186 and years later Stephen Riddel was Lord Chancellor of Ireland (c. 1313-1318). A member of the family of Picard changed his name to Ruddle, at the instance of King Edward IV., to denote his birthplace. [2]

"Hugh de Ridel was one of the hostages given to Henry II. for William the Lion, King of Scots, having acquired through his wife, Margaret de St. Medard, the manor of Cranston in Scotland, which was lost in the subsequent Scottish wars, and Withering in Northamptonshire, held for three hundred years and upwards by his descendants." [1]

In Scotland, "the Ridels never prefixed de, and the de Rydales invariably did so because they came from a place so-called. The first Ridel of Craneston was probably Gervasius Ridel who appears as a witness in the Inquisttio of Earl David as to the extent of the lands of the church of Glasgow, c. 1124, and was most probably a descendant of the Galfridus Ridel de Blaye of 1048. At this day the name is a strictly personal one in Normandy. Gervasius also appears as a witness to charters in the reigns of Alxander I and David I. The first of the Riddells of that Ilk was Walter de Ridale or Riddale who received a charter from King David, c. 1150, of the lands of Whitimes (an error for Whittune), Eschetho I to which he transferred the name of his Yorkshire property, and Lilislive (now Lilliesleaf). He also appears as a witness in many charters in the cartularies of Dryburgh, Holyrood, Glasgow, Newbattle, Cambuskenneth, Dunfermline, etc. He died without issue, c. 1155, and left his property to his brother Anschetil or Ansketil de Riddel by a will which was confirmed by Pope Adrian IV." [4]

Early History of the Riddel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Riddel research. Another 224 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1030, 1106, 1124, 1577, 1582, 1590, 1595, 1601, 1604, 1616, 1663, 1632, 1669, 1700, 1664, 1747, 1652 and are included under the topic Early Riddel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Riddel Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Riddell, Riddle, Riddall, Riddells, Ridel and others.

Early Notables of the Riddel family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Riddell, 1st Baronet (d. 1632); Sir Walter Riddell, 2nd Baronet (d. c. 1669); Sir John Riddell, 3rd Baronet (d...
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Riddel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Riddel family to Ireland

Some of the Riddel family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Riddel migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Riddel Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Jane Riddel, Scottish convict who was convicted in Aberdeen, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Duchess of Northumberland" on 25th November 1852, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [5]

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Eugene Edward Riddel, American Seaman First Class from Michigan, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [6]


  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/duchess-of-northumberland
  6. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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