Recorded in the spellings of Fritchley and more rarely Fritchly and Frichley, this is an English surname. It is locational from the small village of Fritchley near the town of Belper, in the county of Derbyshire. The place name, and hence the surname, probably translates as either the Frisian's enclosure or farm (leah), and relates to members of the Anglo-Saxon tribes known as the Frisians who entered England in the 6th and 7th centuries, or possibly a farm fenced (frip) for agriculture. Locational surnames were amongst the first to be created in the medieval period. They were usually given to people after they left their original villages and moved elsewhere, often in search of work. When this happened, they took or were given, as their surname, the name of their original homestead. In this case the surname, whilst rare in most parts of the country, is reasonably well recorded in Derbyshire itself. Recordings taken from the earliest known surviving church registers include examples such as John Frichley, who married Cicilia Oates at Darley Dale, in 1569, the precise date not being recorded. Other examples are those of George Fritchley, the son of Richard Fritchley, who was christened at South Wingfield, on April 30th 1685, and later still Joseph Fritchley, the son of Joseph and Mary Fritchley, christened at Crich, on April 5th 1866.
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