Rich History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Rich was brought to England in the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Rich family lived in Hampshire. Their name, however, is a reference to Riche, in Lorraine, France, the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Another equally valid derivation of the name suggests that it is patronymic, which means it was adapted from the first name of the original bearer's father. According to this version it comes from the Norman personal name Richard. Rich is a classic example of an English polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.

The name was "probably an abbreviation of Richard, than an epithet implying wealth," [1] [2] but may have also have originated in France as "Riche was near Nancy, in Lorraine." [3]

"Rich is a characteristic west of England name, being most frequent in Somerset and Wiltshire. Those of Somerset are most numerous in the Bridgewater district, whilst those of Wiltshire are most frequent in the Malmesbury district. Le Rich was the name of a Hampshire family of the 14th century." [4]

Early Origins of the Rich family

The surname Rich was first found in Hampshire where the first on record include Edmund Rich, Saint Edmund (1175-1240) English churchman, who became Archbishop of Canterbury. He was born at Abingdon and his father's name was Edward or Reinald Rich. His father withdrew to the monastery of Evesham, or more probably to Ensham, near Oxford. [5]

Thomas filius Ricun, was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls in Huntingdonshire in 1274. [6]

Robert Rich ( fl. 1240), was an English biographer, second son of Reginald and Mabel Rich of Abingdon, and younger brother of St. Edmund Rich, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Another source notes that the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 also included three listings of the family with early spellings, all found in Oxfordshire: Henry le Ryche; Hugo le Ryche; and Bruman le Riche. [7]

Over in Somerset, Kirby's Quest listed William le Riche and John le Riche, Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [8]

Early History of the Rich family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rich research. Another 111 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1547, 1496, 1567, 1540, 1620, 1594, 1675, 1640, 1587, 1658, 1611, 1659, 1660, 1619, 1673, 1625, 1678, 1601, 1667, 1660, 1648, 1699, 1689, 1699, 1692, 1699, 1657 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Rich History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rich Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence in the eras before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate regularly changed the spellings of their names as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Rich have been found, including Rich, Riche, Richin, Riching, Richins, Richings and others.

Early Notables of the Rich family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Rich (c. 1496-1567), 1st Baron Rich, Lord Chancellor of England during the reign of King Edward VI; Barnabe Rich (1540-1620), English author and soldier; Sir Edwin Rich (c. 1594-1675), an English lawyer and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1640; Robert Rich (1587-1658) 2nd Earl of Warwick, an English colonial administrator, admiral, and puritan; Robert Rich, 3rd Earl of Warwick (1611-1659); Jeremiah Rich (died c. 1660), an English stenographer who published...
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rich Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Rich family to Ireland

Some of the Rich family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rich migration to the United States +

For many English families, the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. For such families, the shores of Ireland, Australia, and the New World beckoned. They left their homeland at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. Many arrived after the long voyage sick, starving, and without a penny. But even those were greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. Numerous English settlers who arrived in the United States and Canada at this time went on to make important contributions to the developing cultures of those countries. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Rich were among those contributors:

Rich Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Rich, who landed in Bermuda in 1609-1610 [9]
  • Cutberd Rich, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 [9]
  • Susan Rich, who landed in Maryland in 1652 [9]
  • Walter Rich, who landed in Virginia in 1653 [9]
  • Abraham Rich, who arrived in Virginia in 1653 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Rich Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Rich, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1751 [9]
  • Michael Rich, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1754 [9]
  • Jacob Rich, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1760 [9]
  • Thomas Rich, who arrived in North Carolina in 1764 [9]
  • Henry Rich, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Rich Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Godfrey Rich, aged 21, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1805 [9]
  • Barnabas Rich, who landed in America in 1823 [9]
  • David Rich, who landed in New York in 1832 [9]
  • William Rich, who arrived in New York in 1832 [9]
  • Catherine Rich, aged 54, who arrived in New York in 1849 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Rich migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Rich Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Gustavus Rich, who landed in Canada in 1834

Australia Rich migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Rich Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Phillip Rich, (b. 1807), aged 32, Cornish boot and shoe maker travelling aboard the ship "Alfred" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 16th January 1839 [10]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Rich, (b. 1811), aged 28, Cornish needlewoman travelling aboard the ship "Alfred" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 16th January 1839 [10]
  • Miss Ann Rich, (b. 1835), aged 4, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Alfred" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 16th January 1839 [10]
  • Miss Mary Rich, (b. 1837), aged 1 year 5 months, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Alfred" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 16th January 1839, she died on board [10]
  • Richard Rich, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Aboukir" in 1847 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Rich migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Rich Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Rich, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "St. Michael" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th January 1850 [12]
  • Mrs. Rich, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "St. Michael" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th January 1850 [12]
  • Mr. William Gordon Rich, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 31st August 1852 [13]
  • Mr. George Rich, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand in September 1852 [13]
  • Miss Lucy Rich, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Merchantman' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 6th September 1855 [13]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Rich (post 1700) +

  • William P. Rich (1880-1965), American politician, Member of California State Senate, 1931-51; President pro tempore of the California State Senate, 1935-39
  • William Allen Rich, American politician, American Independent Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives 48th District, 1978
  • William Rich, American politician, Village President of Carol Stream, Illinois, 1962-63
  • Wayne A. Rich Jr., American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, 1981-82
  • Wayne Rich, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Orlando, Florida, 2003
  • Warren Walter Rich (1863-1916), American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Salina Cruz, 1916
  • W. W. Rich, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Minnesota, 1912 [14]
  • V. M. Rich, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Louisiana, 1908 [14]
  • Tom R. Rich, American politician, Member of Georgia State Senate, 1950
  • Theodore P. Rich (1848-1886), American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from New York County 13th District, 1876
  • ... (Another 64 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. W.  Rich (1893-1917), Welsh 3rd Engineer aboard the SS Curaca from Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom who died in the explosion [15]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Claude Edward Rich, American Seaman First Class from Florida, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [16]


The Rich Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Garde la foy
Motto Translation: Keep the faith.


Suggested Readings for the name Rich +

  • 623 Holway-Rich Heritage: A History and Genealogy of Two Cape Cod Families by Richard Thomas Holway, Stepehens Ancestors and Pioneer Relatives: the Stewart, Rich, and Other Families of the 1800's by Clyde S. Stephens.

  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  8. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  9. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  10. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, May 30). Ships' Passenger Lists of Arrivals in New South Wales on (1828 - 1842, 1848 - 1849) [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1838_on.pdf
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ABOUKIR 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847Aboukir.htm
  12. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, April 29) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  15. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  16. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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