Recorded in many spelling forms including Rich, Riche, Ritche and Richman (English), Ruiche, Leriche, Ricq, (France), Ricci, Ricco, Richi and Richichi (Italy), Reich, Reiche, Reichel, Reichelt, and Reicher, (Germany), Rico and Rica (Spain) and in other countries, wherever it is first recorded and spelt, this interesting name has at least three distinct separate origins. Firstly, it may have developed from a nickname for a wealthy man, derived from pre 9th century Old French term "riche", meaning wealthy.Secondly, the origin may be from a short form of the (originally) Germanic male personal name Richard. This very popular name was composed of the elements "ric", meaning power, with "hard", meaning hardy, brave, or strong. Finally, it may be of topographical or locational origins from the Germanic and also Olde English term "ric", meaning a stream or channel, and hence indicating residence by such a stream. As a locational name it may derive from any place named with the element "ric", such as the ancient village now called Glynde Reach in the English county of Sussex, or from a now "lost" place such as the former village of Riche in Leicestershire. Early examples of recordings include: Mosse le Riche of Gloucestershire in 1195, Herman Riche of Villingen, Germany, in 1420, Petrus Reichelt of Chemnitz in 1476. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is possibly that of Godwinus le Riche. This was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls" of the county of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 11 of England, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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