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About the study
The Rippingale one-name study started like many others: a search for an elusive relative. In my case it was my 6x Great Grandmother, Susan Rippingale or Rippingall, who came from Norfolk. I gradually generated a great deal of data on the Norfolk Rippingales and in 2010, decided to expand and systematize the data into a full one-name study. It was registered with the Guild in 2012.
The officials who recorded the name before the mid 19th century, showed great flair and imagination in its spelling. So far, I've counted 43 variants and deviants. As literacy spread, the spelling became more standardized and an inspection of the 1911 census shows a reduction to 8 different forms. Of these, Rippingale is by far the most common (92%), followed by Rippengal* (5%) with the remainder (eg Rippengille, Rippingil, Rippingall) at just 3%.
Rippingale is a locational surname and originates in the village of Rippingale in Lincolnshire. There is some dispute about the origin of the name. One school of thought suggests that it is Anglo-Saxon in origin and means 'nook of the family or followers of a man called *Hrepa'. Alternatively, it may be Celtic from 'Ri' (elevated), 'Apen' (river) and 'Cal' (forest). Whatever the derivation of the name, Rippingale (Repinghale) is an ancient settlement, first mentioned in 806 and recorded in the Domesday Book.
History of the name
* The Curia Regis Rolls of 1194-1199 mention a Walter de Repenghal and those of 1210-1212 record a claim of Margery, wife of Hugh de Repinghal, against one Hugh le Macun.
* John son of John de Rippinghal was mentioned in the patent rolls of Edward 1 (1277), when he was granted protection for a journey to Wales in the King's service.
* The best known is probably the artist Edward Villiers Rippingille who was a founder member of the Bristol School. He painted 'The Stage Coach Breakfast' which depicts some of the literary figures associated with Bristol: Coleridge, Wordsworth and Southey.
I have found a total of 279 instances of the Rippingale surname in the 1881 census of England, Scotland and Wales. This gives a frequency of approx. 6 per million, a rank order of 13767. By 1998, the surname had moved up the rankings to 13241, a frequency of approx. 8 per million. Some caution is needed when analysing these numbers as they are based on the Rippingale variant only, and the usage of this spelling increased from 1881 to 1998. Even so, it does seem that Rippingales have been increasing faster than the population as a whole.
Distribution of the name
Up to 1700, the greatest number of Rippingales was found in Lincolnshire. In the next 100 years, the surname had spread, mainly to Essex, London and Norfolk. By 1881, most Rippingales were to be found in Essex, followed by Greater London. There was some emigration to Australia, New Zealand and America in the 19th century but the highest frequency of the surname (98%) is found in the UK.
The following have been extracted and indexed:
* All birth, marriage and death entries from the General Register Offices for England & Wales (since 1837) and Scotland (since 1855)
* Scottish Old Parish Records
* International Genealogical Index (IGI); all countries
* 1841-1911 census for England, Wales and Scotland
* Numerous Parish records, including many London parishes