This long-established surname, with variant spellings Richmond and Richmont, and French cognates Richemont and Richemond, is of French origin, and is locational from any of the various places in North France, named with the Old French elements "riche", rich or splendid, plus "mont", hill, or from Richmond in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The latter, recorded as "Richemund" in Early Yorkshire Charters, dated 1108, was named from one of the Richemonts in France immediately after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Richmond in South West London received its name only after the accession of Henry V11 (1485), who had been Earl of Richmond, and consequently is unlikely to be the source of the surname. The surname was first recorded at the end of the 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Geoffrey de Richemond, in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York, dated 1298, and Nicholas Richemonde (Somerset, 1327). Sir Henry Fitzroy (1519 - 1536), the natural son of Henry V111, was first Duke of Richmond. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was George Richmond (1809 - 1896), a portrait-painter, who had among his sitters William Wilberforce, Earl Granville and Macaulay. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Richemund, which was dated 1199, in "Carte Antiquae Rolls", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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