This rather unusual surname is of Germanic and Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly it may be from a patronymic of the medieval given name "Rick", itself a short form of Richard, composed of the Germanic elements "ric", power, and "hard", hardy, brave, strong, introduced by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066; or Rick could be derived from a less common compound name with the first element "ric", as above. The earliest recording (see below) is from this source. Secondly, the surname may be topographical, describing "a dweller on a piece of land thickly grown with rushes", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century (West Saxon) "rixe", rush, a metathesized form of "rysc". Topographical surnames, such as this, 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. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of John, son of Alexander and Margaret Rix, on May 27th 1634, at Allhallows, London Wall, and the christening of William, son of William and Rebecah Rix, on October 23rd 1696, at St. Gabriel's, Fenchurch. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a red shield with a fess between six crosses crosslet fitchee silver, the Crest being a demi griffin proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Rixe, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", 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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