Rutherford - Surname Meaning
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This, the name of an ancient and once powerful Border family, is of territorial origin from the lands of Rutherford in the parish of Maxton, Roxburghshire. In the reigns of William the Lion and Alexander II we meet with the names of Gregory and Nicholas de Rutherford or Rutheford (Melros, p. 75, 76 77, etc.). In the reign of Alexander m (1249-1285) several others of the surname appear, among them being Sir Richard, lord of Rotherford (ibid., p. 295, etc.; Kelso; REG., 174). William de Rwthirford, a cleric, witnessed a charter by Henry de Grahame, a. 1200 (RHM., p. 3), and c. 1215 Huwe de Ruwerfort witnessed a charter of Philip de Valoniis (Panmure, II, 124). Nicolas de Rotherford witnessed a quitclaim by Malcolm de Constabletun and Alicia, his wife, of a carucate of Edulfistun (now Eddleston) to the Church of Glasgow in 1260 (REG., p. 176), and he also appears several times as a charter witness in the Kelso chartulary between 1270 and 1297 (Kelso, 174,305, 308). He is probably the Nicholas de Rothirford, knight, who rendered homage at Montrose in 1296, in which year also Margarete la fielle Nicol de Rotherforde also rendered homage for her lands (Bain. II, p. 181,207). An Aymer de Rotherford of the county of Roxburghe also rendered homage for his lands in the same year, as also did Mestre William de Rotherforde, persone of the church of Lillesclyve. The seal of the former bears an eagle displayed and the legend S’ Aimeri de Rotherford, and that of the latter bears a wild bull’s head cabossed, a human head between the horns, and the legend S’ Will'mi de Rothirford (ibid., p. 199,202, 532,558). Eva and Margery de Rotherforde, heirs of”Monsire Nichol de Rotherforde chivaler Descose,” their grandfather, petitioned for seisin of the annual rent of the mills of Doddingestone in Northumberland in 1306 (ibid., 1879). Richard de Rotherford witnessed a charter of Sirildis Saddeler, c 1330 (Kelso, 491), and in 1354 William de Rotherford, dominus ejusdem, appears in the same record (496—500). William of Rotherford and Nicholas of Rothersford were jurors on an inquisition held at Roxburgh in 1361 (Sain, IV, 61, 62), and Sir Richard of Rotherfurde, knight, was one of the ‘borowis’ for the earl of Douglas’s bounds on the middle march, 1398 (Bain, IV, 510). Richard Ritherford was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1411 (NSCM., I, p. 4), and George de Rutherfurde witnessed a charter of Archibald fourth earl of Douglas, c. 1413 (Home, 18). James Ruthyrfurd and Nicholas Ruthyrfurde were two of the thirty Scottish conservators of the truce between Scotland and England in 1451 (Bain, IV, 1239). In the edition o Samuel Rutherford’s Examen Arminianismi, published at Utrecht in 1668, his name is transformed into Rhetorfortis, and by his continental contemporaries further changed to Retorfortis. Among the Scots settlers in Prussia in 1644 the name appears as Ritterfart. Routherfurd 1338, Rudderfoord 1654, Ruderford 1581, Ruderfourd 1530, Ruderfurd 1545, Ruderfurde 1574, Rudirfurd and Ruthyfurd 1544, Rutherfurd 1436, Ruyerfurd 1589, Ruyrfuird 1592, Rwtherforde 1464, Rwtherfurd 1584, Rwthirfurde 1426, Ruddyrfurd (in Inverness). Daniel Rutherford (1749-1819), scientist, discoverer of nitrogen, was born in Edinburgh. Much nonsense has been written by amateur philologists about the origin of the place name, w ich is simply OE. hrythera ford, cattle ford, the ford of the cattle. In OE. hryther or hrither has the meaning of “homed cattle.”— The Surnames of Scotland (1946) by George Fraser Black (1866-1948)
RUTHERFURD: An extinct parish in co. Roxburgh. This ancient family have a tradition that their founder, a man of distinction on the Border, having conducted Ruther, King of the Scots, safely through the river Tweed, on an expedition against the South, at a place called from that event, Rutherfurd, the monarch rewarded his faithful guide with lands adjacent to the place, afterwards known as the barony of Rutherfurd. The authentic history of the family commences with Robert, Dominus de Rutherfurd, witness to a charter of David I., in 1140. The family continued to reside at Rutherfurd until the last century, and the present head of the house, though resident at Edgerston, still writes himself Rutherfurd of that Ilk.— Patronymica Britannica, written: 1838-1860 by Mark Antony Lower
Rutherford is the name of an ancient border clan seated for many centuries at Rutherford in Roxburghshire (L.). The Rutherfords are still well represented in the Scottish border - counties.— Homes of Family Names in Great Britain (1890) by Henry Brougham Guppy
Local. From the lands of Rutherford on the river Tweed, in the parish of Maxton, Roxburgshire, Scotland. The name is derived from the Welsh Ruthr, rushing, swift, and fford, a ford or way.— An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names (1857) by William Arthur
Local: from the lands of Rutherford in Roxburghshire. The family are descended from Sir Richard de Ruthirfurde, 1390.— The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames (1862) by Clifford Stanley Sims (1839-1896)
Rutherford - Surname Distribution
Rutherford Distribution in the United Kingdom in 1881
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* Statistics based on the 1881 census of the United Kingdom, Channel Islands & Isle of Man
Highest Incidence of Rutherfords in UK Counties and Dependencies
Highest Incidence of Rutherfords in UK Settlements
Rutherford Distribution in Ireland in 1901
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No. of People
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Highest Incidence of Rutherfords in Irish Settlements
Rutherford Reference & Research
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