Recorded in the spellings of Rickard and Rickards, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname, but of Germanic origins. It derives from the famous pre 7th century personal name "Richard", meaning "powerful ruler", from the elements "ric", meaning power, and "hard", brave and strong. Given such a pedigree it is not perhaps surprising that throughout the centuries it was, and remains, one of the most popular names. It is said to have been introduced into Britain by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion, and it is therefore perhaps surprising that it is so romantically associated with King Richard 1st of England, and known as Coeur de Lyon. He was of the usual Norman-French origins, but publically at least in the legends of Robin Hood, he espoused the "Saxon" cause. The "s" of Rickards is the patronymic form, and means "son of". Amongst the many distinguished name holders was Sir George Rickards K.C.B. (1812 - 1889), a political economist, and counsel to the speaker of the House of Commons from 1851 to 1882. He was also Drummond Professor of Political Economy at the university of Oxford. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Adam Ricard. This was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Somerset, during the reign of King Edward IInd, 1307 - 1327. 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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