The surname of FREEBAIRN was a baptismal name 'the son of Frebern'. The name was mentioned as Friebernus ( without surname ) in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy conquered England. He was crowned King, and most of the lands of the English nobility were soon granted to his followers. Domesday Book was compiled 20 years later. The Saxon Chronicle records that in 1085 'at Gloucester at midwinter, the King had deep speech with his counsellors, and sent men all over England to each shire to find out, what or how much each landowner held in land and livestock, and what it was worth. The returns were brought to him'. William was thorough. One of his Counsellors reports that he also sent a second set of Commissioners 'to shires they did not know and where they were themselves unknown, to check their predecessors' survey, and report culprits to the King'. The information was collected at Winchester, corrected, abridged, and copied by one single writer into a single volume. Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were copied, by several writers into a second volume. The whole undertaking was completed at speed, in less than 12 months. Other records of the name include Robert Freebourne who was documented in the year 1172 in County Kent. In Scotland a Stephen Fairburn, burgess of Berwick-on-Tweed, held the hostely of the abbot and Convent of Dundee in 1327. Richard Frebern was rector of Thorp Abbots, County Norfolk in 1324. A James Forbrayne was burgess freeman of Glasgow in 1601. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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