This surname RICHARDS was derived from the Old German 'Ricard' a font name meaning powerful and brave. The name was introduced into England by the Norman/French during the Norman Conquest of 1066, and was usually Latinized as Ricardus in medieval documents. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book of 1086. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became a general practice amongst all people. Early records of the name mention Ricard (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Adam Ricard of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Thomas Richards of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Ricards and Jane Lovelacke were married in London in the year 1799. Henry Brinley RICHARDS (1819-1895) was a Welsh pianist and composer, born in Carmarthen and educated at the Royal Acadamy of Music, London. Regarded as the finest piano player in the country, he was also a prolific composer of songs, piano pieces, and choruses. During a study trip to Paris, he befriended Chopin. His best remembered piece is 'God Bless the Prince of Wales'. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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