The First Richmonds
Until the Middle Ages, most people did not have last names. Most commoners
surnames where derived from the famiy profession such as Farmer, Baker, Miller, etc.. Some were given from a personal characteristic such as Short, Little, or even
Longfellow. The names of the aristocracy usually were of a place or title. The name
Richmond is derived from the French or Norman words riche and monde, which literally mean " rich hill" . This may have referred to a high place from which a man started his path to wealth or fame. The first written records of the Richmond name were shown as Rychemonde. Later is was shown in reference to the same people and places as Richemount, Richmonte and finally Richmond. The first historical spelling of Richmond as it is today, can be found in 1189 when Sir Alan Richmond owed the king tax money for the custody of Richmond Castle. The family name can now be found listed in all early settlers of the British Empire as Richmond, while in France it can still be found as Richemonte throughout the country but especially in the Normandy area.
These first to call themselves Richmond were Normans of Viking ancestry who had settled in the area of France known as Normandy. Rollo (Rolf) the first Duke of Normandy was a Viking warlord from Norway (Northland). By 911, Rollo the head of a Viking Army, had been plundering the rich Seine River Valley for several Years. Charles the Simple, King of France granted Rollo, through the treaty of St. Clair-sur-Epte a large piece of French territory in return for his Oath of Loyalty and pledge to defend France from other Vikings, Muslims and Magyars. This area became known as Normandy ; an area between the Valleys of Bresle, L'Epte and L'Avre he later received from King Philip of France.
William the Conqueror, the grandson of Rollo, expanded his kingdom to include England when he conquered the Saxons. Alan Rufus, a kinsman of the Conqueror, accompanied William and served at his side at the Battle of Hastings. For his part, Alan Rufus was given land in Yorkshire and began construction of Richmond Castle.
Richmond Castle, founded in 1071, is a gray stone fortress standing proudly atop a rocky spur overlooking the turbulent River Swale. The castle's primary purpose was, apparently, to defend Alan Rufus de Richmond and his followers against attacks by the dispossessed Saxons of the area who didn't look too kindly upon their Norman conquerors. Richmond Castle however saw very little fighting.
Roaldus de Richmond a descendant, was later given more land by the Crown and established his coat of arms with the ducal crown which indicates a relationship to royalty, however it is difficult to follow ancestral lines prior to the 1483 establish- ment of the Herald's College by Richard III which started to record lineage.
The present Duke of Richmond is not an actual Richmond but of the Lennox line. Many American Richmonds assume incorrectly that there is some early family connection. This centers from a confusion of place names and surnames. The original Richmonds who lived in the Castle were Earls not Dukes. An Earl owns a particular estate and lands. The King usually named his children as Dukes of a part of the country, such as the Duke of Kent or the Duke of Glouchester. The Duke of Richmond today traces his ancestry to Charles born in 1672, son to King Charles II.
Generation 1--Alan Rufus
Generation 2--Roaldus Musard de Richmond, records indicate that a debt owed to the King in the sum of 200 Marks existed. He paid 10 Marks the first year and owed 190. For his failure to pay custody of Richmond castle was lost. Generation 3--Hasculfus Musard de Richmond - a general survey taken around 1100 indicates he held lordships in Demense, Keddington, Chilworth, Oxfordshire,
Gloucestershire and Stainbury. He is also listed as the first constable of Richmond Castle.
Generation 4--Roaldus Le Ennase de Richmond - The second constable of Richmond Castle under Alan III also a descendant of Alan Rufus. Roaldus seized lands of the King's enemys during his tenure in the name of King Henry. For his efforts most were given to him, including Pickall Manor, which he gave to his daughter when she married Johanus de Neville. By grant of King Stephen, he was Lord of Aldborough and most of his uncles Emsart's lands. He founded a Abby at St. Agatha on his Manor of Easby in the 1150's. He and his wife Graciana were buried there. The remains of Easby Abbey can still be seen about a mile from the town.
Generation 5-- Sir Alan de Richmond ( son of Roaldus Le Ennase) became the third constable of Richmond Castle. In the second year of the Reign of John (1201)
he gave the king 300 Marks and 3 horses to be the constable of Richmond Castle and by their service to retain control of the title by his heirs.
Generation 6-- Roald (son of Alan) de Richmond, a knight and the fourth Sir constable of Richmond Castle, in 1208 received the lands of William de Rollo's, including the manors of Caldwell, Croft and Kipling, plus the lands of Skeby of Harsculph, son of Harsculph, who died fighting in Brittany in 1204. In 1237, King Henry III summoned him to tell by what right he held these manors (petition by the previous heirs had been made unto the King). He was able to produce the letter patents of King John granting them to his family forever. He therefore kept these lands and bestowed the manors of Burton, Aldeburgh and Croft to his son Roald in 1240.
During this period adjustments were made to the Ancestral Castle of the family Richmond. The Great Tower of Richmond Castle is the best preserved part of the castle today. It rises to a height of over 100 feet. This was a 13th Century addition built over the Castle's original Gatehouse. The archway at the base of the Keep is from the original 11th Century construction. The climb to the top of the Keep is by interior staircases set inside the thick walls. The view from the Keep displayed the surrounding Yorkshire countryside, as well as, the Borough of Richmond.
Generation 7--Alan Richmond, son of Roald of Croft, was given Burton Manor by his brother, Roald. Alan married Matilda, daughter and co-heir of Peter de Goldington as well as co-heir of Lord Roppele, who lived in Lincolnshire in 1300. Alan therefore claimed various Lincoln lands in the name of his wife. A third part of Burton Manor was claimed in 1249 by Sarra, wife of Goscelyn Deyville, as her dower.
Generation 8--Sir Roald, son of Alan Richmond of Croft, had been given the manors of Croft and Caldwell by his uncle Roald. Alan was brought to court in a dower plea to the King in 1250 by Sarra and in 1251 his uncle re-claimed the Caldwell Manor. Sir Roald married Isabella, heir of Robert - son of Osanna de Langthwayt and Osanna's second husband, Alan de Lasceles. Sir Roald died in 1262.
Generation 9--Eudo de Richmond is listed as having control of Staynwriggis in the County of York.
Generation 10-Elyas de Richmond, was living during the time of Edward III and Richard II (1327-1399). According to Thackeray genealogy, his brother Richard married Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Burgh and received Burgh Manor near Catterick and Richmond in Yorkshire in 1350.
Generation 11-Thomas de Richmond was living in the time of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V. He was probably born in the 1350's and died in1420.
Generation 12-William de Richmond was listed by the Herald's Vistiation 1681-1683 as being of Yorkshire in the early 1400's. About 1430, he married Alice, daughter and heiress of Thomas Webb of Draycott. To establish secure title to all of the lands of the Webbs their name was hence forth William and Alice Richmond-Webb.
Generation 13- William de Richmond-Webb II lived at Draycott Foliott, Wiltshire, and was married to Joan, daughter of John Ewen of Draycott. His Last Will listed his wife as Johanna and children as:
1. Thomas 5. Richard
2. Christopher 6. Alice
3. William 7. Ann
4. Henry *This Will was probated 24 April 1502.
Generation 14- Richard Richmond of Brinkworth was still listed in 1541.
Generation 15- John Richmond of Brinkworth died in 1573. His wife was Agnes.
Generation 16- Henry Richmond of Brinkworth died in 1581. His wife was also named Agnes.
Generation 17- John Richmond of Brinkworth was born in 1561 and died in 1623. His will was probated in 1626 showing his wife as Mary Cook.
Generation 18- Henry Richmond of Christian Malford, Wiltshire had five wifes.
The last three were Alice, Ann and Elizabeth. Two sons John and Henry were of the first marriage. Supposedly he had 25 children in all with his 5 wifes. Only twelve are listed as growing to adulthood in the Wiltshire Visitation Pedigrees, 1623.
Even in those days, the Richmonds were seeking their heiritage. A letter in Henry
Richmond's book from John's nephew, Oliffe Richmond to his cousin Silvester says:
"Ashton Keyes, 29 March 1736. Dear Cousin -- It is agreed by all that our ancestors first settled at rodborne, Wilts; that two branches lived at Chedderton, in Lyddiard Treygoze Parish, Wilts and Brinkworth, Wilts. The farthest of our family I can trace is our grandfather who lived at Christian Malford, Wilts, about three miles from Chippenham in the County. The house is now standing. Henry, our grandfather, had four wives and as I have been informed twenty-five children, twelve of whom grew up to be men and women. Children by his first wife were: John and Henry (The Amesbury Branch) now descending form John who killed his brother during the civil wars and cost our grandfather so much money to save his life that his estate was sold or mortgaged. Children by second wife: Peter, (father to George and William). Children by his third wife: Silvester, Oliffe (my father), James (died at Campden in Gloucester County and left children), and Francis who died without offspring. Children by fourth wife: Jane, Edward, Mary (died unmarried), Elizabeth (who married but left no children), and Thomasine (married in Ashton Keynes and left children). John and Henry our grandfather's other sons were officers of distinction in the civil wars, one in the King's Army and the other in Cromwell's, and our grandfather's home was often plundered by both armies, the King's party saying he had a son in Cromwell's party and Cromwell's party that he had a son in the King's.
Your affectionate though unknown kinsman,
Generation 19- John Richmond of Taunton Massachusetts b. Wiltshire, England.
The John mentioned here, is the same as the one mentioned above who killed his brother Henry causing their father to lose most of his holdings. --- John was in the shipping and trade business. He traveled regularly between the American Colonies and England and established a residence in Taunton Mass. in 1635. At home in England an impasse between the King and Parliament led to a Civil War. The King's troops against Cromwell's troops. John's brother Henry fell into the tradition of support for the King, while John returned to England with the American anti-Royalist beliefs.
John had left a family in England with at least two sons and had started another in America, were he left three daughters when returning to join Cromwell. John, due to his family standings was commissioned a Colonel in Cromwell's Roundheads. After the Battle of New-bury, when there was a traditional truce to care for the injuried, Henry got word that John was nearby and entered the enemy camp on the evening of 20 Sept. 1643 under a truce flag to speak to his brother. When Henry appeared at the tent door of a tired and sleepy John wearing a King's Royalist uniform -- John shot and killed his brother Henry before he could identify himself.. Once the war was over the King proclaimed John's action a criminal offense under a Flag of Truce. John spent years in prison, while his father tried to save his life.
In 1658, as part of his negotiated released, John accepted an arranged marriage by one of his relatives in Virginia in order to return to the America Colonies and his American family. This would indicate a relation -ship between the early Richmond family of the South and North in the American Colonies. Once released
from prison, he decided to instead returned to Taunton Mass. and there lived with his daughter Sarah until his death in 1664 at the age of 70.
Their section of Taunton is still called "Richmond Town". His male child John jr. left in England moved to America in the 1650's and started the Northern Branch of the Richmond Family. He married twice--- the first to Susannah Hayward of Bridgewater with whom he had four children. His second marriage was to Abigail Rogers, granddaughter of Thomas Rogers of the Mayflower fame.
Richmond Castle continued to decline throughout these years. Although little remains of the original sections, some masonry dating back to the late 1000's can be seen along the Eastern Wall, its occasional "Herringbone" courses are conspicious. In the southeastern corner of the castle stand the Gold Hole tower and the Scolland's
Hall. The latter hall received its name from Scolland, the sewer to the first Earl of Richmond , Roaldus. A sewer, in medieval times was a household office of rank in
charge of serving the dishes at the banquet table. Scolland's Hall, what remains of it, is a good example of the period's architecture. Through its basement is the entrance to the Cockpit or Second Court, which is enclosed by masonry walls of the late 12th century.
There is a legend that Richmond Castle and Easby Abbey are connected by an under
ground passage. Many years ago when soldiers where stationed at Richmond Castle
they found the passage in the Castle cellar. The soldiers persuaded a young drummer boy to march down the passage beating his drum. The soldiers above ground could hear the beat of his drum and followed it along the river bank and through the streets of the Borough of Richmond. The sound became faint and eventually stopped not far from Easby Abbey. The drummer boy was never seen again and no one knows what became of him. The people of Richmond were sadden-
ed by what had happened and erected a stone monument to his memory above the spot were his last drum beat was heard.
Richmond Castle was used throughout history by prominent people. Two Scottish Kings (another link to our Scottish heiritage), as well as, one English King spent time within the walls of Richmond Castle.
The Scottish King William the Lion was there shortly after he was captured at Alnwick in 1174. David II was imprisoned in Richmond Castle after his defeat at Neville's Cross. David was the son of Robert the Bruce. He had married Joanna daughter of Edward II of England in 1328 and sought to claim all of England under his flag. He was imprisoned for eleven years until a large enough ransom could be paid to the English King.
English King Charles I, was held there after his defeat by the Scots in 1647. He had become King in 1625 at the death of his father James I. He had attempted to force the English forms of worship upon the Scots, he had many executed and banished their families members from Scotland and England. He also abolished the power of Parliament and raised taxes to pay for his troops in Scotland. As a result a Civil War broke out in England with Lord Oliver Cromwell leading the Parlimentarians.
Charles' troops were defeated and they fled to Scotland , there the Scots captured him and returned him to Richmond Castle as a prisoner where he was later tried and beheaded. His reign more than any other event started the Richmonds of both Scotland and England on their journeys to the American Colonies. John Richmond of Taunton Mass. as well as the Scottish Richmonds of Virginia and the Carolinas.
A plaque close to the southeast corner commemorates the fact that Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, was a resident there from 1908-1910. It is said that Richmond Castle is the oldest stone-built castle in England. This may be difficult to prove some 900 years afterwards. It is however, the oldest English stone castle still surviving in our time. One branch of the Richmonds continued to live at the castle and others inherited nearby Yorkshire manors. The ancestors of the early Northern sections of the American Richmond Family are able to prove lineage from Yorkshire and Wiltshire in the 1400's. Any connection between the Scottish Richmonds and those of Richmond Castle have as yet remained unprovable.
Traditionally, though not proven, it is assumed that there are members of the family who migrated to Scotland during its many Clan Wars with England. These started when McBeth was defeated and slain in 1056 by Malcolm III. Malcolm III thought he could increase his control of the British Isle and invaded the North of England. William the Conquerer invaded Scotland in retaliation in 1072, only a year after the founding of Richmond Castle by Alan Rufus de Richmond. It can be assumed that Alan would have led at least part of the attack since he was a cousin and Warlord of the Norman Conquerer. Malcolm quickly agreed to a truce, but there was some disagreement of its terms. The Normans claimed control of all of Scotland, while the Scots said it pertained to only twelve Manors in England proper. This led to another War in which William Rufus slew the Scottish King Malcolm in 1093. Then in 1189 for a sum of 10,000 marks, Richard the LionHearted , the then English Monarchy agreed to cease all claims to former Scottish lands in order to finance his great Crusade to free the Holy Land from the Muslim ruler Saladin. These were the days of Robin Hood of story and myth. Surely Richmonds were on this third great crusade as leaders and knights of England. The habit of awarding feudal lands may have left some of Alan Rufus'children in control of lands in Scotland at the time of its return to theScots.
William the Lion thus became heir to the Scottish throne. His son Alexander II suceeded William, who was followed by Alexander the III. He died in 1286 leaving his main heir as Margaret, daughter of the King of Norway. She died in passage from there by ship and a feud started between John Balliol and Robert the Bruce for the Crown of Scotland. Edward I of England intervened and helped Balliol gain control leading to the Wars depicted in the movie BRAVE HEART, where Sir William Wallace of Ellerslie was cruelly drawn and quartered by the English King Edward in 1305.
Robert Bruce the III continued the struggle and rioted the English at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Bruce died in 1329 and a new war erupted in which the Scots at last gave up the struggle to claim their own land independent of England. During this time and for the next 200 years the Crown of England was share by English and Scot alike, the most famous the Stuarts. During these years prominent English (Norman and Saxon) families controlled large estates in Scotland and thus it would only be logical to have sent some of sons of the influential Richmond families to Scotland.
During the fourth Crusade, the European Knights sacked the Christian city of Constantinople. This led to a split between the Catholic Church --Roman Catholic Greek Orthodox Catholics. The split started many christians to questioning which was the real Church. The debate over the next 200 years led to the Spainish Inquisition and Protestant reform movements. By the 1600's the struggle was dramatic as to which was the best religion. Charles I of England offended most protestants of English and Scottish parishes by forcing them to uphold church ritual and to use a formal prayer book. In 1637 Charles tried to force the Scottish Presbyterians to accept a version of the Anglican Prayer Book. A Scottish Revolt erupted thus Charles sent in the British Cavaliers to quail it by any method necessary including public execution.
Many Presbyterians were later banished from Scotland and England because of their parts played in struggles for their religious beliefs. Some fled to Ireland and arranged ship passage from there to the Americas and Australia. In the 1600's a John Richmond was killed and became a Religious Martyr there. A stone dedicated to the memory of him and others stands in a Glasgow churchyard. A list of the banished ones of the time listed an Andrew Richmond from the nearby area of Auchinleck. Also listed were David Currie and John Wylie, whose descendants married with the Richmond descendants in the Virginia and Carolina colonies.
To pay for his troops in Scotland, Charles called the Parliament into session and ordered them to appropriate taxes. This led to the English Civil War which led to Charles' trial and execution. It also led to the death of Henry Richmond at the hands of his brother John Richmond of Taunton Mass..
The Scotland Richmonds who fled Europe because of religious freedom settle in the southern states of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Georgia.
Andrew Richmond settled in the Maryland area by 1704 and John Richmond is shown on Colonial documents as living there as early as 1734. He or another John Richmond died in Augusta CountyVirginia in 1753.
All of the Richmonds of Scotland did not migrate at that time however, for Archibald Murray Richmond was born in 1828 at Auchinleck, Scotland and came to the U.S.A. just prior to our own American Civil War, arriving during the 1850's. Donald C. Richmond, a descendant of Archibald's, traveled back to Scotland and reported that many Richmond tombstones are to be found at a cemetary at Old Comnock, Ayr-shire Scotland. One of the more ritzy spots there is still called Richmond Heights.