Riddles History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Riddles reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Riddles family lived in Yorkshire at Ryedale or in Westmorland at Rydal with Loughrigg. The name Riddell and its variants occur in both locations. Riddles 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 Riddles family

The surname Riddles 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 Riddles family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Riddles 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, 1674, 1595, 1602, 1652 and are included under the topic Early Riddles History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Riddles Spelling Variations

Before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Sound was what guided spelling in the Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Riddles family name include Riddell, Riddle, Riddall, Riddells, Ridel and others.

Early Notables of the Riddles 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. 1 April 1700); and Sir Walter Riddell, 4th Baronet (1664-1747.) James Riddell (died 1674), was a Scottish merchant and manufacturer, the son of James Riddell. His father, also James Riddell, claimed descent from the Norman Baron Galfridus Riddell of Blaye in Guienne, the first of the English Riddells...
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Riddles Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Riddles Ranking

In the United States, the name Riddles is the 18,484th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Riddles family to Ireland

Some of the Riddles 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.

Migration of the Riddles family

To escape the political and religious chaos of this era, thousands of English families began to migrate to the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. The passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe; however, those who made the voyage safely were encountered opportunities that were not available to them in their homeland. Many of the families that reached the New World at this time went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of the United States and Canada. Research into various historical records has revealed some of first members of the Riddles family to immigrate North America: William Riddell settled in Virginia in 1635; Archibald Riddell settled in New Jersey in 1685; Sarah Riddall settled in Virginia in 1640 with her husband.


Contemporary Notables of the name Riddles (post 1700) +

  • Robert Arthur "Robin" Riddles CBE, MIMechE, MinstLE (1892-1983), British locomotive engineer


  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. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm


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