This very interesting surname is of Olde English, pre 7th century origins. It derives from the word "freoland", an Anglo-Saxon term which described the holder of lands without any obligation to the lord of the manor. Since almost everybody had to provide some service, if only by payment of rent or tribute, but usually by both rent and service, to be a "freelander" was the dream of 99% of the people of Merry England. Quite how one obtained such rare land grants is uncertain. but it was probably as a result of success in war on behalf of the local noble, or by the provision of special services connected with religion or even medicine. Not surprisingly the Freeland surname is amongst the very earliest of all surname recordings, appearing for the first time during the reign of the famous King Richard 1st, known as "The Lion-heart", 1189 - 1199. At this time Richard was steadily raising taxes to pay for the famous "Crusades", and this is when Walter Freland was recorded in the land charter rolls for the county of Norfolk, known as "The Feet of Fines". These were lists of tax paying landowners, the said Walter may have avoided rent but he could not avoid tax! Other later recordings include Ralph Frieland of Cambridge in 1202, who was also recorded by the tax authorities, and Richard de la Fryelonde, in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex.
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