Recorded as Tarfery, Tollfree, Tolfree, Tolefree, Tuffrey, Turfery, Turffery, Turffey, Turfrey and no doubt others, this is an ancient surname. In origin it can be from either the Olde English pre 7th century 'porfreor' which does appear to mean 'toll free,' or it may be from the equally ancient Norse - Viking personal name 'Thorfrith', which roughly translates as 'hammer wood'. The English word did actually mean 'toll free,' and as such probably applied to a kings messenger or similar, some one who was granted a certain status and not required to pay the tolls which were charged at every town, and sometimes in between as well.However it is also possible that the name referred to a person who lived at a 'toll'. This was a small wood, and a term used in the south east of England, specifically Kent and Sussex areas. The name is first recorded as a personal name (there were few if any surnames at the time), in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 in the spellings of Torued and Toruert. The first recognizeable surname recording is probably that of John Torfrey in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of Oxfordshire in 1279, and Henry Tholfrey, in the Subsidy Tax rolls of of Sussex in 1296. John Tolfrut is recorded in the accounts of the duchy of Cornwall in 1297, whilst Robert Turfrey married Deborah Staley at St James church, Dukes Place, Westminster, on June 10th 1666. This was in the reign of King Charles 11nd of England, 1660 - 1685.
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