This is Richmond, California.
It was named in 1854 by Edmund Randolph; after his home city of Richmond, Virginia.
This is Richmond, Virginia.
It was named in 1737 by William Mayo, because it reminded him of his home town of Richmond, in Surrey. I find it a little hard to see it myself, but they've both probably changed a bit since then.
This is Richmond, Surrey.
You may recognise it from having had people cycle past it very fast a couple of weeks ago. It was named in 1501 by Henry VII, after the town of Richmond, in Yorkshire, of which he was Earl.
This is Richmond, Yorkshire.
It was named in 1071 by Alan Rufus, after the village of Richemont in Normandy.
This is Richemont, Normandy
It was named once upon a time by someone history has forgotten, either because it was on a fertile hill; or - and this is the one I hope- because it was on a mound which belonged to Richard. If the latter, it seems to me this forgotten medieval Frenchman must be one of the most commemorated people in history, given that he's the origin of the first syllable of not only all the above places, but also the fifty or so other Richmonds in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Jamaica.
What can we conclude?
-That the people who get to name settlements aren't as imaginative as we might like.
-That as they get older and more influential, men get soppy about the place they come from. (Or are Earl of.)
-That Richard's mound casts a long shadow.
-That I am no longer allowed to check things on Wikipedia when I'm supposed to be writing.
P.S. There is an Edinburgh Festival special episode of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme now up on iPlayer. Hope you like it! The new series begins next month. Also, there is an excellent new radio show, also on iPlayer, called Before They Were Famous, in which the very funny Ian Leslie imagines the early careers of various writers; and also kindly allows me to do some of their silly voices. Watch out, professors of linguistics, for my subtle differentiation of the Czech Kafka from the Russian Dostoyevsky. Gulp. I normally do links, but I have already spent far too much time searching for photos of obscure French villages. They're on iPlayer, basically. Google it.