Recorded as Risman, Rishman, Rushman, Rysmond, and possibly others, this is almost certainly surname of English and Anglo-Saxon origins. In general this name seems to be occupational, and to refer to a man who sold "rysce", that is to say rushes used for many purposes such as floor covering or roof thatching, as well as the primitive and expensive torch ive lighting made of rushes covered in tallow. Howver it is possible that there is another quite different origin. A study of the development of the surname over the centuries certainly suggests that for some nameholders at least, the name may be locational from the towns of Richmond in Surrey and Yorkshire. These places are variously recorded as Rysmond and surnames in the same spelling recorded in the early medieval church registers for London, clearly seem to overlap with the spellings as Rishman. Locational surnames are very prone to transposition in spelling, because by their very nature, they are names that have travelled. They were given to people as easy identification, usually after they had left their original towns or villages and had travelled eslsewhere, often to London, the only major city in the country. Spelling being at best erratic, and dialects very thick, lead to the development of "sounds like" surname spellings. In this case examples of the surname taken from surviving early registers of the diocese of Greater London include: William Rysmond, who married Mary Smith, at St Peters church, Cornhill, on April 23rd 1555, Sarah Rishman who married William Bignall, at St Georges in the East, Stepney, on July 5th 1725, and James Rushman, a witness at St Anne's Soho, on April 12th 1819.
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