This unusual surname is of Norman origin, and is an Anglicized form of the male given name "Richold", or the female given name "Ricolda", which were introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. "Richold" is composed of the Germanic elements "ric" meaning power, plus "wald", rule, while "Ricolda" derives from the Germanic "ric", plus "hild", battle. The personal name is recorded as "Rikilda" (1197) in the Feet of Fines of Suffolk, and as "Richild", "Rikilde", in the Curia Regis Rolls of Hertfordshire of 1212.The surname dates back to the late 13th Century (see below), and early recordings include; Geoffrey Rikild (1279) in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire, and Thomas Rikel (1327) in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Richel, Richell, Rekel and Rickel. London Church Records list the christenings of William, son of Thomas Rekel, on January 12th 1616 at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, and of Willi, son of Thomas Rickell, on September 6th 1640 at St. Olave's, Southwark. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Richil, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Northumberland", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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