This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, the surname may be a topographical name for a "dweller by the rushes", deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "risc, rysc", rush. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname may also derive from the medieval given name "Rick", a pet form of Richard, from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements "ric", power, with "hard", hardy, brave, strong. Richard Coeur-de-Lion's fame as a crusader gave the name great popularity, which was only slightly subdued by the bad reputations of the second and third English kings of the name. "Rike" (without surname) was witness in the Assize Court Rolls of Cheshire (1260). The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below), and can also be found as Rick and Rix. Ralph Rixe is noted in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire (1279), and David Rickes is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk (1327). Other recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of Thomasin, daughter of Thomas and Bridget Ricks, on September 28th 1634, at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney; and the marriage of John Ricks and Anne Tyler on July 3rd 1683 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osbert de la Rixe, which was dated 1274, in the "Hundred Rolls of Somerset", 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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