The family originated from the ancient counts of Angouleme, who received their fiefs from Charles the Bald in 866; Gerard, baron of Blaye, c. 1030, granted lands to the abbey of Fons Dulcis, near Bordeaux, which was confirmed by his brother Gerald de Blavia, his sons, Geoffry Rudelli (Ridel) and William Frehelandus. The last named, living 1079-99, was ancestor of the Scottish branch of the family. The surname was first assumed about 1048 by Geoffry, the second son of count Geoffry, who inherited the barony of Blaye in Guienne, and married the heiress of Perigord. By this countess he had two sons, Helias, the elder, fore-father of the counts of Perigord, and the second Geoffry, who fought in Apulia, and came from thence to the conquest of England with William Bigot. He appears in Domesday as the possessor of large grants of land and succeeded to his father's barony of Guienne. In the next generation, another Geoffry married Geva, the natural daughter of Hugh Lupus; was crown commissioner in 1106 with Ralph Basset, whom he succeeded as lord judiciary, and was drowned in the shipwreck of the Blanche Nef with his brother-in-law, the young earl of Chester.
Almost all the versions of the Battle Abbey Roll include the name of Ridel; and Thierry, in his "Histoire de la Conquete de l' Angleterre par les Normands," further specifies that "Ridel" was among the Norman conquerors. By reference to the first volume of "Pipe Rolls," edited by Mr. Stapleton, it will be seen at p. 119, that Geoffrey Ridel rendered accompt for himself and for Geoffrey de St. Denis of forty shillings for two copes. It was by this tenure that the fief of Blosseville in the pays de Caux, was held, which gave to the possessor in later times the title of Vicomte hereditaire, Chatelain et Seigneur Haut Justicier de Blosseville. This entry proves that the Ridels originally existed in Normandy. The first of the race, explicitly proved to have been settled in Scotland, is GERVASIUS RIDEL, the earliest High Sheriff of Roxburghshire. From him derives the present Sir WALTER BUCHANAM RIDDELL, Bart., of Riddell, co. Roxburgh. The Norman Ridel was ancestor also of the eminent Northumbrian House of Riddell of Fenham and Swinburne Castle, now represented by THOMAS RIDDELL, Esq., of Felton Park.
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