Recorded in several spellings including Frome, Froom, and Froome, this is a medieval English surname, but of truly ancient origins. It derives from the Ancient British word 'ffraw' meaning 'fair water', through the later 'ffram' meaning 'sparkle', so that in effect the meaning is 'sparkling river'. There are a number of River Frome's in England as well as several place names as Frome and Froome, and any or all can be responsible for the origin of the surname. Surnames from place names are locational, and often given to people after they have left their original homesteads to move elsewhere. In this case the town of Frome in Somerset is first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 705 a.d., making it one of the very earliest of all place recordings. The surname is much later. In general surnames were formed in England between the 12th and the 15th century, although often later in other European countries. The first known recording is probably that of Walter de Frome of Oxford in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, and Reginald de Frome, and William de Froome of Somerset, in the records known as 'Kirby's Quest' for the same year.
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