This interesting name, with variant spellings Ringe and Rings, derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "hring" meaning ring. The Old High German word "hring" and the Old Norse "hringr" have the same meaning, and consequently, the surname may also be either German or Scandinavian in origin. It is generally accepted that Ring was originally given as a metonymic occupational name to a maker or rings, to be worn either as jewellery or as component part of chain-mail, but latterly, in Scandinavia it was adopted as an ornamental name. The surname was first recorded in England at the beginning of the 13th Century, (see below). On July 10th 1598 Anna Ringe and Robitus Crifte were married in St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, London, and on November 14th 1624, John Ring, an infant, was christened in Dulwich College, Dulwich, London. John Ring, (1572-1821), a surgeon of renown, rendered most important services to the cause of vaccination. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eilwinus Ring, which was dated 1207 - The Chartulary Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King John, Nicknamed "Lackland", 1199 -1216. 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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