Family Name History
The surname Riddell, which is found in both England
and Scotland, is derived from both a personal name and also
from a place name. In early records it is relatively easy
to distinguish the exact origin of Riddell as in instances
where the name is of place name origin it is invariably
prefixed by "de" meaning "of or from".
The place name from which Riddell is derived is the "wapentake"
of Ryedale in Yorkshire although it has also been said that
in some cases Riddell may derive from Rydel, in Westmoreland.
The Scottish Riddells are in no doubt that their name is
either derived from Ryedale in Yorkshire or from the personal
name Ridel, an old French forename meaning, liberally, "small
Indeed some of the Riddells of Scotland claim descent from
a French family named Ridel who came from Gascony and who
settled in Scotland in the eleventh century when the name,
as Ridel, was introduced by Galfridus Ridel de Blaye who
is first recorded in 1048.
The first Riddell of Craneston (in Midlothian) was Gervasius
Ridel a witness in the Inquisition of Earl David and in
charters of kings Alexander 1 and David 1. The first Riddell
of Rydale, Yorkshire was one Walter de Riddale who received
a charter from King David of Scotland circa 1150.
He died in 1155 leaving his property to his brother Ansketil
de Riddel (confirmed by Pope Adrian 10). It is interesting
to note that the property stayed in the hands of the Riddell
family for twenty-five generations, until 1819.
English references to this name first occur in the eleventh
century, when the "Domesday Book" makes mention
af one Geva Ridel in 1086. Notable bearers of this name
include Robert Riddell, the friend and early patron of Robert
Burns, John Riddell (1785-1862), the peerage lawyer and
genealogist and Henry Scott-Riddell (1798-1870), the renowned
BLAZON OF ARMS: Argent, a chevron
gules between three ears of rye slipped and bladed proper.
Translation: These are canting
arms the ears of rye being a pun on the original spelling
of the name (Ryedale).
Crest: A demi-greyhound proper.
Motto: I hope to share.