This interesting surname has a number of possible origins. Firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a topographical name from the Olde English pre 7th Century "firhthe", woodland, scrub on the edge of a forest, given to someone who lived by such a feature. Secondly, it may be of Old Welsh origin, as a topographical name given to someone who lived by a mountain pasture, derived from the Welsh "ffrith, ffridd", a mountain pasture, barren land. Finally, the name may have derived from a nickname for someone who was said to possess the virtue of thriftiness, from the Old Norse "thrifask", meaning to grasp for oneself, giving rise to the 13th Century word "thrift". Modern surnames deriving from the first two sources mentioned above include Firth, Frith, Frid, Fryd, Freeth, Vreede, Frift, Fright and Freak. Early recordings include: John del Friht (Kent, 1197); John del Frith (Norfolk, 1201); and William Thrift (Yorkshire, 1315). The name also appears in Scotland, where Mr. James Thrift was a reidare (a reader, one in minor orders in the Scottish Church), at Culles in 1574. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wlmar de Frith, which was dated 1195, in the "Pipe Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017