This most unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of that fascinating group of early surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of distinguishing qualities, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, and personal relationships. In this case, the surname Friend, also found as Frend, derives from the Middle English "frend", friend, a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "freond", which was used as a nickname for a particularly friendly, companionable person. In the Middle Ages the term was also used of a relative or kinsman, so the surname may in some cases have been acquired by someone who belonged to the family of a more important figure in the community. Early examples of the name include Gervase Lefrend, in the Middlesex Curia Rolls of 1221, and Willelmus Frynd, in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns of 1379. The marriage of Margaret Friend and Thomas Brampton was recorded in Beddington, Surrey, on July 12th 1541. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name Friend depicts an ermine chevron between three silver bucks' heads cabossed on a red shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Frend, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire", 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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