This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a patronymic form of Frear, which derives from the Middle English and Old French "frere", friar, monk, or from the Latin "frater", a brother. The name would not necessarily be given to the son of a friar or monk as such, but would more likely be a nickname for a person with qualities associated with such a man, for example, pious bearing, or even for a man employed in a monastery. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. Robert (le) Frere is noted in the 1196 Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, but the patronymic is not recorded until the 14th Century (see below). In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Frears, Frearson and Frierson. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Henry Frierson and Isabell Litler on July 2nd 1571, at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London; the marriage of Agnes Frearson and Thomas Tomlinson at Hawkshead, Lancashire, on August 4th 1577; and at the same place, the marriage of Renald Frearson and Elline Suttherwaite on August 29th 1591. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Frereson, which was dated 1335, in "A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds", Staffordshire, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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