This name is of Northern English locational origin from a place in Cumberland thus called. Recorded as Frithebenk in the Close Rolls of that county, dated 1230, and as Frethebank circa 1240 in "The Cockersand Chartulary", the name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "fyrhth" meaning "wod" or "woodland" plus "banke", a bank or ridge, hence, "ridge" in a woodland". The surname was first recorded in the latter part of the 15th Century, (see below). On May 29th 1591 Edward Firbank and Ellin Pearson were married in Kendal, Westmoreland, and on June 15th 1631 Helene Firbanke married a Thomas Fidoe in St. Gregory by St. Paul's, London. An interesting variant is found in the record of one Robert Firebancke, of Wennington in the parish of Mellinge, who was entered in "the Lancashire Wills Records at Richmond" in 1638. On September 7th 1773, Hannah Firbank married an Owen McDonald in St. James' Church, Westminster, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Firthbank, which was dated 1470, "Register of the Freedom of the City of York", during the reign of King Edward IV, "the self proclaimed king", 1461 - 1483. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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