This ancient name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical surname used in the first instances to denote someone living in or by the frith, woodland or scrub on the edge of a forest. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "firthe", (ge)fyrhthe", wood, woodland, taken into Middle English as "firthe", and often subject to metathesis to become "frithe, frethe, frid" and "frede", with the latter dialectal "freeth" and "vreath" (in the West Country). The Olde English term was also borrowed into the Welsh language as "ffrith, ffridd", to mean barren land, mountain pasture, and hence a topographical name for residence on or near such land. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided convenient distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname development includes the following examples: Wlmar de Frith (1195, Kent); William in le Frith (1276, Essex); Denis Frede (1327, ibid.); and Thomas atte Vrythe (1333, Somerset). The modern surname forms include Frid(d), Fryd, Freed(er), Vreede, Frift and Thrift. In Kent, the marriage of William Frid and Elizabeth Robbins was recorded in Nonington, on June 14th 1591. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph del Frid, which was dated 1176, in the "Pipe Rolls 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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