The surname of FRATES is believed by some to be an occupational name derived from the Old French word 'fraitur' meaning a brother or member of a monastery, one who dwelt there. The name, however, is more likely to mean the keeper of a monastic refectory, and by extension of meaning, the keeper or superintendant The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monastries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Early records of the name mention Richard del Fraytour who was recorded in the year 1301 in County Surrey. Thomas Fraiter of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The name was in Scotland early, and John Frater was a tenant on the Abbey lands of Kelso in 1567. John Frater was recorded in Longhauche in 1663, and John Fratter appears in Roughauch in 1666. George Fraiter was a portioner of Langhaugh in 1755. (A portioner was one who possesses part of a property which had originally been divided among co-heirs). The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Translation of arms: Argent (white or silver) means Peace and Sincerity. Gules (red) denotes Military Fortitude and Magnanimity and the Martlets were fabulous birds and always drawn without legs. This is the distinctive mark of the fourth son. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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