Frow History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Frow is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It was name for a person who was referred to as the fry, which literally means free. It has also been suggested that Frow comes from the Middle English word fry, meaning "small person," or "child." In either instance, the origins of the name are as a nickname which referred to characteristics of the first person who used the name. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Frow family

The surname Frow was first found in Wiltshire where the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 has two listings: Thomas le Frye; and Geoffrey le Frye as both holding lands there at that time.

Another source notes that William Frie was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Sussex in 1195 and Robert le Frye was listed in Warwickshire c. 1248. [3]

In Cornwall, the Cornish version of the name denotes "a hill, a town or house on the most prominent part of a hill or eminence." [4]

"Of the old Wiltshire families of yeomen, few can boast a greater antiquity, and few have shown more love of their county by remaining in it, than those bearing the name of Fry. Numerous as they now are, especially around Chippenham, we find that as far back as in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I., the Fryes or Fries found in Wiltshire their main abode. The Frys of Ashgrove, in the parish of Donhead St. Mary, appear to be one of the parent stocks; they gave the burial ground for Quakers in that parish, which has been used for this purpose ever since the Society of Friends was first established in England." [5]

The famed English prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, (1780-1845) born Elizabeth Gurney, hailed from Norfolk into a prominent Quaker family. After her first visit to Newgate Prison in 1813, she was horrified and vowed to make changes. One of her admirers, Queen Victoria granted her an audience that led to the Gaols Act of 1823. England still regards her with so much importance that her likeness appeared on the £5 note from 2001 to 2016.

Early History of the Frow family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Frow research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1307, 1312, 1461, 1426, 1448, 1474, 1609, 1657, 1666, 1748, 1777, 1861, 1780 and 1845 are included under the topic Early Frow History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Frow Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Frow have been found, including Fry, Frye, Free and others.

Early Notables of the Frow family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir John Fray (died 1461), an English lawyer who served as Baron of the Exchequer from 1426 and Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer in 1448; Walter Frye (c. died 1474), an English composer of the early Renaissance; John Fry (1609-1657), Member of the English Parliament and sat as...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Frow Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Frow family to Ireland

Some of the Frow family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


New Zealand Frow migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Frow Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Frow, (b. 1827), aged 38, British carpenter travelling from London aboard the ship "Eastern Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 4th January 1865 [6]
  • Mrs. Sarah Ann Frow, (b. 1829), aged 36, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Eastern Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 4th January 1865 [6]
  • Mr. John L. Frow, (b. 1851), aged 14, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Eastern Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 4th January 1865 [6]
  • Miss Kate Frow, (b. 1855), aged 10, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Eastern Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 4th January 1865 [6]
  • Mr. Arthur Frow, (b. 1857), aged 8, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Eastern Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 4th January 1865 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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