Recorded as Pomfrey, Pumfrey, Bummfrey, Boumphrey, Umfrey and others, this is a Welsh surname of French medieval origins. Derived from male personal name Humfrey, meaning "bear cub-peace", and introduced into the British Isles by the Norman French after the famous Conquest of England in 1066, it was borne by a 9th Century saint, the bishop of Therouanne in France, who had a following amongst the Norman settlers. The name is not found in the earliest Welsh records, and its use there must have started after the 12th century. It originallyt had the Welsh "ab or ap" meaning "son of" prefix as in the recording of Edward ap Humfrey in the Shropshire Records of 1575. Over the centuries these prepositions became fused with the main name as in ap Howelk which became Powell or ab Owen to Bowen. With this name recordings include the marriage of Susan Bumfery to Thomas Phillips on October 9th 1639, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, and the marriage of Anne Pumphrey and James Hartland on May 1st 1821, at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Humfrey. This was dated 1240, in the "Feet of Fines of Bedfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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