The surname FROME was of two-fold origin, which was originally brought into England at an early date from Germany, probably sometime during the 12th century. It was a locational name 'of Froome' parishes in County Somerset, and Hereford. The name is also rendered as Frome. The name was derived from the Old English word 'FFRAW' literally meaning the dweller beside the river. The earliest of the name on record appears to be FROME (without surname) who was recorded in the year 950, and FROME (without surname) was documented in 1192 in County Gloucestershire. 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. Other records of the name mention Walter de Frome of County Oxford, who was recorded in the year 1273. Reginald de Frome was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). William Frome was recorded in County Yorkshire in 1379. The name was also a nickname for an honourable man from the Middle English word VRUM meaning 'noble, honourable and trustworthy'. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state.
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