This ancient surname found in the spellings of Firth, Frith, Fridd, Fryd, Freeth, Fright, Freed, Vreede, Frift, Freak, Feake, Freke, Firk, and many other forms is of pre 7th century Olde English, Scottish and Welsh origins. It derived as a surname from a description for a 'dweller by scrubland or barren pasture' from the words 'firhthe' or 'fyrhthe'. The rule of thumb is that for example 'Firth' has its epi-centre in Yorkshire - Lancashire, whilst the transposed spelling as 'Frith', is frequently recorded in the south ast of England. When prefixed with 'V', the name is usually West Country, whilst the unusual 'Fright' is most popular in London and Kent. The early English examples of the surname include Wulmar de Frith in the 1195 Pipe Rolls of Kent, John del Friht in the 1197, also in the Kentish rolls, Alexander de Frike of Worcester in 1275, Thomas atte Vryth in the 1333 Somerset charters, and Thomas atte Fryth in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire. The surname was first recorded in Scotland in 1317, when Laurencius del Frith witnessed a charter by Willelmus de Lysurius in Edinburgh. Later examples include John Firth, a witness on December 31st 1609, at St Botolph's, Bishopsgate, and Robert Fryght, christened at St Andrews church, Holborn, London, on February 7th 1665. A Coat of Arms associated with the surname has the blazon of a silver field, charged with three lozenge buckles, tongues in fesse azure, and the crest is a broken battle axe broken, issuing from a ducal coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Delfrid, which was dated 1176, in the "Pipe Rolls of the county of Surrey", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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