Ridley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Ridley family

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]

Early History of the Ridley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ridley research. Another 168 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1547, 1576, 1560, 1624, 1500, 1555, 1550, 1629, 1653, 1708, 1691 and 1692 are included under the topic Early Ridley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ridley Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Ridley family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Lancelot Ridley (died 1576), an English divine, said to have been the son of John Ridley of Willimoteswick in Northumberland; and his second son, Dr. Mark Ridley (1560-c.1624), an English physician born at Stretham, Cambridgeshire; and Nicholas Ridley (1500-1555) an English Bishop of London, burned at the stake as one of the Oxford Martyrs. [2] Sir Thomas...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ridley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Ridley migration to the United States +

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, who settled in Boston in 1635 along with Anne
  • Elizabeth Ridley, who settled in Bermuda in 1635
  • Elizabeth Ridley, aged 30, who arrived in Barbados in 1635 [3]
  • Rich Ridley, aged 16, who arrived in America in 1635 [3]
  • Ann Ridley, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [3]
Ridley Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Ridley, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [3]
  • Nathl Ridley, who landed in Virginia in 1702 [3]
  • John Ridley, who arrived in Virginia in 1716 [3]
  • John Ridley, who settled in South Carolina in 1716
  • Alexander Ridley, who landed in Virginia in 1716 [3]
Ridley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Ridley, who landed in New York in 1846 [3]
  • Robert Ridley, who landed in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1863 [3]
  • James Ridley, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1870 [3]

Canada Ridley migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Ridley Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • C Ridley, who landed in Victoria, British Columbia in 1862

Australia Ridley migration to Australia +

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

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 [4]
  • John Ridley, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Boyne" in 1850 [5]
  • Peter Ridley, aged 27, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Blundell"
  • Reuben Ridley, aged 35, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Blundell"

New Zealand Ridley migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Ridley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • R. Ridley, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Simlah" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand in 1851 [6]
  • Frederick Ridley, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Anne Longton" in 1860
  • George Ridley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Owen Glendowner" in 1864
  • Mr. Lawson Ridley, (b. 1837), aged 27, English farm labourer from Cumberland travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "William Miles" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 22nd October 1864 [6]
  • Rose Ann Ridley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Ridley (post 1700) +

  • Major-General Clarence Self Ridley (1883-1969), American Chief of US Military Mission to the Iranian Army (1942-1946) [7]
  • Clay Ridley, American founder of Ridley Motorcycle Company, a privately held motorcycle manufacturing company in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, active from 1995 to 2010
  • Jack Ridley (1915-1957), American USAF test pilot
  • Thomas E. Ridley, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 10th District, 1852-53 [8]
  • Robert L. Ridley, American Republican politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives 2nd District, 2000 [8]
  • John S. Ridley, American politician, Mayor of Smyrna, Tennessee, 1956 [8]
  • 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 [8]
  • John C. Ridley, American politician, Member of North Carolina House of Commons from Granville County, 1832 [8]
  • F. M. Ridley, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1912 [8]
  • Dante Ridley, American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from California 52nd District, 1996 [8]
  • ... (Another 28 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. William H. Ridley, American Radioman Third Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [9]


The Ridley Motto +

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.


Suggested Readings for the name Ridley +

  • 2797 "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.

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Agamemnon voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1820 with 179 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agamemnon/1820
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The barque BOYNE 1850, 521 tons. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Boyne.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2014, March 26) Clarence Ridley. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Ridley/Clarence_Self/USA.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 24) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ 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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