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Clan Riddell

Clan Riddell is a Scottish chiefly family


One theory for the origin of this name suggests that a family from Gascony may have come to Scotland via Ryedale in Yorkshire.<ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 451</ref>David I brought to Scotland a retainer called Walter, from Ryedale, and settled him in Whitton in Roxburghshire. <ref>David Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, 293</ref> The other theory is that it derives from the Norman personal name Ridel and is of Gascon origin. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 293</ref>

Middle Ages

Gervase Ridale was a witness to a charter of David I in 1116, and his son, Walter, received a charter of the lands of Lilliesleaf in Roxburghshire.One of his nephews was hostage for William the Lion who had been taken prisoner by the English at the Battle of Alnwick in 1174. Riddells also acquired Swinburn in Northumberland. The lands were subsequently erected into a barony of Riddell. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 451</ref> Sir William Riddell of Riddell swore fealty to Edward I of England for his lands in the Ragman Roll of 1296.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 451</ref>

Seventeenth Century

Sir John Riddell was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia on 14 May 1628, and his lands were erected into the barony and regality of New Riddell. Sir John's third son, William, was knighted by Charles I and later served in the wars in the Netherlands.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 451</ref> The Reverend Archibald Riddell, the third son of the second Baronet, was a minister of the reformed church in Edinburgh who was persecuted and imprisoned because he would not renounce his Covenanter beliefs; unlike many others, however, he escaped with his life. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 451</ref>

John Riddel, a prominent seventeenth-century Edinburgh merchant, claimed descent from Galfridus de Ridel. He amassed great wealth from the trade across the Baltic, particularly with Poland, and he became a free burgess of Scotland's capital.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 451</ref> His son acquired extensive lands near Linlithgow. He is said to have intrigued with the forces of Oliver Cromwell, becoming a close friend of General Monck. He is credited with having persuaded the general to restore the ancient parish church of South Leith, which Cromwell had ordered to be used as a stable for his troopers. One of Edinburgh's finest churches, it still bears some of the scars of the Parliamentarian troops' occupation. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 451</ref>

Riddells of Ardnamurchan

Two generations later, this family acquired the extensive Argyll estate of Ardnamurchan and Sunart. Sir James Riddell, first Baronet of Ardnamurchan, received his title in September 1778. He was superintendent general to the Society of British Fishery and a Fellow of the Society of Arts and Sciences. Sir Rodney Riddell, the fourth and last Baronet, was a distinguished professional soldier who campaigned in New Zealand and during the Afghan War of 1878 to 1880. He died in 1907 and the title became extinct.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 451</ref> In 1920, Sir George Riddell of Duns, a prominent newspaper proprietor who had represented the British press at the Versailles peace conference of 1919 was raised to the peerage as Baron Riddell.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 451</ref>

Recognition of Chief

In September 1998 the thirteenth Baronet, Sir John, was recognised by the Lord Lyon as Chief of the Name. He was a financier and Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales, and unsuccessfully stood for election as a Conservative politician. <ref>http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/royalty-obituaries/7917430/Sir-John-Riddell-Bt.html</ref> The current chief is Walter John Riddell (b.1974)<ref>http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/royalty-obituaries/7917430/Sir-John-Riddell-Bt.html</ref>

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