This interesting name has a number of distinct separate origins. Firstly, it may have developed from a nickname for a wealthy man, derived from the Middle English, Old French term "riche", rich, wealthy. Secondly, the origin may be from the medieval English given name "Rich", usually a short form of the male personal name Richard, but also, in some cases, from any of the other compound names with the same first element, such as "Richer". Richard is an Old Germanic personal name, composed of the elements "ric", power, with "hard", hardy, brave, strong; the name is found occasionally in Anglo-Saxon England, but was popularized by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066.Finally, the surname Rich, also found as Riche, Ritch and Ritchman, may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a topographical or locational name deriving from the Olde English term "ric", stream, drainage channel. As a topographical name, Rich denotes residence by such a stream, and as a locational name, comes from some place named with the element, such as Glynde Reach in Sussex, or the now "lost" place called Riche in Leicestershire. Early recordings include: Mosse le Riche (1195, Gloucestershire), Ricardus de la Riche (1200, Hampshire), and William Riche (1296, Sussex). A Coat of Arms granted to the family is quarterly gold and azure, a chevron between three roundles, each charged with a lion rampant all counterchanged. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godwinus le Riche, which was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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