The surname of HUMPHREY was a baptismal name 'the son of Humphrey'. The name has many variant spellings which include UMFREVILLE, UMFRAVILLE, UMPHRAVILLE, HUMPHERY, HUMFREY, HOMFRAY, HUMPHREYS, HUMPHRIS, BOUMPHREY and BUMPHRIES. Robert de UMFREVILLE was granted the manor of Redesdale in Northumberland by William the Conqueror to hold by service of defending the region 'from wolves and the king's enemies'. The direct line seems to have became extinct in 1820 with the death of his last descendant, a ship's master, the son of a Newcastle ship's chandler. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. Other records of the name mention John Hunfrey, 1273 County Oxford. The name was originally brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion. This name was originally introduced into Britain by the Normans. It is composed of the Germanic elements 'hun' meaning bear-cub and 'frid' meaning peace. The name was born by a 9th century saint, bishop of Therouanne, who had a certain following in England among the Norman settlers. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday Book. Later records of the name mention Thomas Howmfra of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Humphreson (Yeoman) of Chester in 1660. John Humphreson of the parish of Winwick, was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1663.
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