The surname of FRICKS was derived from the Old English word 'fricafenn' the dweller at the fern-covered hills, or possibly an occupational name for a herald or town crier. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Frica (without surname) 1197 in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Walter Freke was documented in County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and William Fricker of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. A notable member of the name was Peter Racine Fricker (1920-90) who was the English composer, born in London. He studied at the Royal College of Music and then moved to the United States. He wrote much Chamber music, choral and keyboard works. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village early times, has served to name many families.
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