During the Middle Ages surnames were first used in order to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same christian name. As taxation, under William The Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066, became the law, documentation became essential, and names were chosen from a man's trade, his father's name, some personal physical characteristic, or from his place of residence. In the case of the name REDDIG it was a locational name from Redditch a village near Stockport in County Cheshire. The name was derived from the Old English word HREOD-DIC, literally meaning 'the dweller at the red-ditch'. The earliest of the name on record appears to be REDICHE (without surname) who was recorded in Lancashire in 1212, and Mathew de REDISH was recorded in East Cheshire in the year 1260. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Later instances of the name mention John REDISH, who was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1557, and John REDDICHE and Dorothy Shrigley were married at Prestbury Church, Cheshire in the year 1571. Alexander REDYCHE of County Lancashire, registered at Oxford University in 1578. Roger REDDICHE wed Ellyn Haigh at Mottram-in-Longendale, County Cheshire in 1603. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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