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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The origins of the Ridley name lie with England's ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It comes from when the family lived in the region of Ridley in the counties of Northumberland, Cheshire and Kent. Ridley 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. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

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The surname Ridley was first found in Northumberland where one of the first records of the name was Nicolas de Ridley who executed a charter in 1250. Later, Nicolas de Redley or Ridley lived in 1306 at Ridley in this county. Another early record reveals Odard Ridley as Coroner of Tyndale in 1278. His grandfather was probably brother of John Fitz-Odard, Baron of Emildon (living 1161-1182) and son of Odard, Viscount of Northumberland. The township of Melkridge was an early home to the family. "It belonged at an early period to the Ridleys, of whom Sir Nicholas Ridley was proprietor in the 16th century; the chief estate afterwards came to the Nevilles, of Chevet, and from them passed to the Blacketts, the present owners. " [1] Wall-Town again in Northumberland was home to another branch of the family since early times. "In Henry VIII.'s time Wall-Town was the property of the Ridleys, who continued here till the reign of Charles I., if not later. The tower of Wall-Town, which was a castellated building, is described, in 1542, as the inheritance of John Ridley." [1]

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Ridley were recorded, including Ridley, Ridly and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ridley research. Another 335 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1547, 1560, 1624, 1500 and 1555 are included under the topic Early Ridley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 61 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ridley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Ridley family emigrate to North America:

Ridley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Richard Ridley settled in Boston in 1635 along with Anne
  • Elizabeth Ridley settled in Bermuda in 1635
  • Elizabeth Ridley, aged 30, arrived in Barbados in 1635
  • Rich Ridley, aged 16, arrived in America in 1635
  • Ann Ridley, who arrived in Virginia in 1638

Ridley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Thomas Ridley, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
  • Nathl Ridley, who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • John Ridley, who arrived in Virginia in 1716
  • John Ridley settled in South Carolina in 1716
  • Alexander Ridley, who landed in Virginia in 1716

Ridley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • William Ridley, who landed in New York in 1846
  • Robert Ridley, who landed in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1863
  • James Ridley, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1870

Ridley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • C Ridley, who landed in Victoria, British Columbia in 1862

Ridley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Ridley, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Ridley arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Boyne" in 1850
  • Peter Ridley, aged 27, a miner, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Blundell"
  • Reuben Ridley, aged 35, a miner, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Blundell"

Ridley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Frederick Ridley arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Anne Longton" in 1860
  • George Ridley arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Owen Glendowner" in 1864
  • Rose Ann Ridley arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865
  • Anna Ridley, aged 22, a domestic servant, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874
  • George Ridley arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wanganui" in 1882

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  • Major-General Clarence Self Ridley (1883-1969), American Chief of US Military Mission to the Iranian Army (1942-1946)
  • Clay Ridley, American founder of Ridley Motorcycle Company, a privately held motorcycle manufacturing company in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, active from 1995 to 2010
  • Thomas E. Ridley, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 10th District, 1852-53
  • Robert L. Ridley, American Republican politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives 2nd District, 2000
  • John S. Ridley, American politician, Mayor of Smyrna, Tennessee, 1956
  • John Pattillo Ridley (b. 1955), American Democrat politician, Special Assistant, U.S. Congress, 1974-78; Vice-chair, DeKalb County Democratic Party, 1980-84; City Commissioner, Decatur, Georgia, 1998-2002
  • John C. Ridley, American politician, Member of North Carolina House of Commons from Granville County, 1832
  • F. M. Ridley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1912
  • Dante Ridley, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from California 52nd District, 1996
  • Jack Ridley (1915-1957), American USAF test pilot

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  • Genealogy of John Ranks of England and his Descendants: Including the Ridley Genealogy of hi Wife Annie Ridley by Emme Clement Ranks.
  • A Ridley of Southampton by Lyndon H. Hart.
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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: Constans fidei
Motto Translation: Constant to honor.

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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  5. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Ridley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ridley 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 29 February 2016 at 11:01.

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