The Anglo-Saxon society was divided into various classes, of which "The Freeman" could be described as "Middle Class" in 20th Century terms, although direct comparisons are not possible. Certainly to be a "Free born person" denoted considerable and jealously guarded status. Since most people were effectively slaves. The surname derivation is from the pre 7th Century "freo" meaning "free born" and "man" a servant or worker. The 1188 Pipe Rolls for Essex record one Freman Sceil, and this shows the use of the compound as a rare personal name. Other recordings include Reginald Le Freman, of Worcester in 1221, and Osbert Friman of Bedford in 1240. Edward Freeman (1823 - 1892), wrote "The History of the Norman Conquest" in 1867, whilst James Freeman of Nottingham, who died on June 20th 1968, was the last known survivor of the famous charge of the 21st Lancers at Omdurman, Sudan, in 1898. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Freeman, which was dated 1196, in the "County Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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