Recorded as MacRitchie, McRitchie, Riche, Richie, and Ritchie, this interesting surname is of early medieval English and Scottish origin. It is a diminutive of Richard, the popular Germanic personal name composed of the elements "ric", meaning power, and "hard", brave or strong. An 8th Century English kinglet of this name died at Lucca, in Italy, on his way to Rome, and is there still venerated as St. Ricardo, but it was as "Ricard" that the name was spread by amongst the Normans, and brought by them to England and Scotland after 1066. The surname as (Mac) Ritchie is mainly found in the Highlands, and more usually without "Mac" in Southern Scotland and the English border counties. Early examples include Duncan Richie, a kings messenger in Perth in 1505, John Riche who witnessed an instrument of sasine in Brechin in the same year, and Robert McRichie also known as Makryche, of Glenshee in 1571, whilst Duncan Riche was the king's sheriff of Inverness in 1512. William Ritchie founded the "Scotsman" newspaper in 1817, and Alexander Ritchie was an Edinburgh artist of repute in the early half of the last century. A Coat of Arms granted to this family depicts a shield divided in quarter: the first and fourth quarters depict three silver lions heads erased on a red chief, on a silver shield; the second and third are blue with a gold crescent between three silver cross crosslets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Michael Rechy. This was dated 1350, in "Medieval Records of Inverness", Scotland, during the reign of King David 11 of Scotland, 1329 - 1371. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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