This very interesting name is a dialectual tease. It is the recognised pronunciation for the Yorkshire Town of Pontefract from whence derive the "Pomfret Cakes" - the black liquorice sweet. There are modern spellings Pomfret, Pomfritt, Pomphrett and Pontefract, the first recording in 1273 being Robert Pumfret of Norfolk, a good example of a locational name which is one given to a former inhabitant who moved to another area. For our first recording we have taken a spelling which we believe is more accurate and illustrates the Roman origin of "the Stone Bridge". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas le Lange de Pontefracto which was dated 1310, in the "Freeman of York Register" during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernfon", 1307 - 1327. 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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