Recorded as Ribchester and rarely as Ribchaster, this is an English surname but one of ultimately Roman origins. It is locational from a small town called Ribchester, or the castle on the River Ribble, in the county of Lancashire, and a few miles from the famous former cotton town of Blackburn. It is said that the original Roman fort, one of a chain which crossed England, stood on a promentary between the parish church and the river. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they moved from their former homes, to some where else, and were most easily identified by being called by the name of the place from where they came. Clearly few people felt the need to leave Ribchester area, as surprisingly, it is only in its home county of Lancashire that it is recorded in any numbers. Examples of these early recordings include James Ribchester who married Jenet Tippinge at St Mary's Blackburn, on August 24th 1618, and John Ribchester of Ribchester, who was a christening witness there on October 2nd 1627.
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