Riddiough, Ridyard and Ridiot - the same origins?

From "Memories of Lowton" by Richard Ridyard. Published by the author, Leigh, Lancashire, 1935

Peel Ditch Lane (Newton Road) 20 yards wide
Common Lane (Sandy Lane) 16 yards wide
Byrom Lane 16 yards wide
Stone Cross Lane 16 yards wide
Heath Lane 14 yards wide
Pocket Nook Lane 12 yards wide
Lane leading from Lowton Smithy to Lowton
Chapel (Church Lane) 16 yards wide
Lane leading from Lowton Chapel to Houghton
Common (Slag Lane) 16 yards wide

The bracketed names are the ones by which the several roads are now known. If the width measurement of the roads was now taken it would be found that in many places they are narrower than originally constructed thereby showing that there has been encroachment. The origin of the names given to most of the roads is easy to understand. Common Lane was the lane across the Common, and Heath Lane would cross the land on which the heather grew. Byrom Lane would be named after the Byrom family who at one time resided at Byrom Hall. How Stone Cross Lane came by its name I have not been able to find out with any degree of certainty, but there is a belief strongly held by the old folks living in the district, that one time a stone cross stood at the junction of the roads near to where St. Lukes Church now stands. That such a belief is feasible, is the knowledge that in France and other Catholic countries there are to be seen. many crosses erected by the road sides. and it is reasonable to suppose that in the days when Catholicism held sway in this country many crosses would be erected, giving place names to districts such as Cross Hillock, Astley, Cross Lane, Salford, and Stubshaw Cross, Ashton-in-Makerfield. During the turbulent period of the Civil War in the 17th century most of the crosses would be demolished, the one that gave the name of Stone Cross Lane, among them.

On the plan which the Commissioners had drawn, each allotment is numbered, and the name of the occupier given, and it is interesting to know that some had surnames similar to those borne by many Low-ton’s present day inhabitants. There is one surname on the “Plan” which attracted my attention because of the possible relationship with my own. Plot number 69 was occupied by John “Riddiot”, but on a later copy the transcription of the surname is Riddiard, and at a still later period the transcriber has spelt it “Ridyard”, as at present. The above shows how the spelling of names can change during the lapse of years. Between 20 and 30 years ago I was invited to “Drywood Hall”, Worsley, by the lady of the household, whose maiden name was Ridyard. She was interested in the lineage of the Ridyard family, and she desired an interview to find how much I knew of my ancestry. She claimed distant relationship, her contention being that the Ridyard family in this country sprang from one stock, who came over from France or Flanders, during the period of religious persecution some 300 years ago, bringing with them the art of handloom weaving. In how far her theory is right I do not know, but I know that my great grandfather was a hand-loom-weaver, and moreover the surname ending “iot” is not uncommon in the French and Flemish tongues.


Gilbert Upton wrote:

Obviously, being rather anecdotal, it has to be treated with some caution but I do not find it particularly far fetched so far as the Ridyard name is concerned. I hope that is not wishful thinking.


Peter Harrop’s reply

The 1st entry we have for our Riddiough ancestors is a Thomas RIDEHOUGH, who was born around 1650ish and lived in Ormskirk. There are many different spellings of the name in the registers after this : RIDIOUGH, RIDEOUGH, RIDEHOUGH, RIDYOUGH, REDIHOUGH, RIDDIHOUGH, RIDDEOUGH until it reached the consistency of RIDDIOUGH in the late 1700's.

With these spellings, I'm not sure how the name RIDEHOUGH would have been pronounced phonetically. I presume it would be something like RID-E-HO.

From my 3rd form French lessons. I think the RIDDIOT would be pronounced something like RID-E-O. The T isn't pronounced. I think this is correct. So these 2 do indeed look very similar.

Because the Riddioughs and the Riddiots seemed to appear around the same time in the same part of Lancashire, I think it very likely that they are from the same stock.


Gil Upton’s reply

It does have a ring of truth about it and your dates fit with the good Richard Ridyard back in 1935 plus the locations are reasonably adjacent. It was this which first alerted me to it when I saw the name on the Scouse Surnames list. It's a pity RR did not allude to it in 1935 but perhaps it had not occurred to him or, having seen some of your variants he simply chose not to include them in this passage of his book. Maybe he just never saw the connection. Nor have I seen anything which suggests he was some great scholar in this field to make him an authority without peer. Indeed, his book was really about the village/small town of Lowton after all and the extract I sent is the only bit of Ridyard family history in there so it was not that important. His credentials are not stated as there are no notes about the author - as he published it himself perhaps he was just too modest.

As for pronunciation, the French would pronounce RIDDIOT as REEDYOH with the stress on the first syllable, which is close to how, I presume, and English speaker pronounces RIDDIOUGH and all the other variants you mention. The French letter i is more of an ee sound than in English as their vowel sounds are generally shorter and less open. One thing is for sure, old spellings of any name depended on who was writing it at the time and you seem to have seen enough of this in your RIDDIOUGH research - so the phonetics are as important as what is written.

After all that, what do I think? Still hedging my bets, and not being particularly expert in this field, I think that the balance of probability is the two names, Riddiough and Ridyard have the common origin Riddiot in the C17th with your version having he stronger claim for that connection.