Show ContentsFryar History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Fryar emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. Occupational surnames were derived from the common trades of the medieval era. The surname Fryar is an occupational name for a friar. The surname Fryar is derived from the Old French word frere, which means friar. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Fryar family

The surname Fryar was first found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 which listed: Benedictus le Frere, Cambridgeshire; and John le Frere, Norfolk. [3] Over in Somerset, Cecylia le Frere, was listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of King Edward III's reign.) [4]

Another source notes that Robert (le) Frere was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, 1196-1195 and Roger le Frier was listed in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1243. [5]

Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Margota Frere; and Isabella Frere as holding lands there at that time. [3]

"There were gentle families of the name in Great Wigston and Blaby, Leicestershire, during last century. John Freer was rector of Knossington in the reign of Anne. One of the name was mayor of Leicester about a century ago. The name also occurs in Yorkshire. Since Leicestershire, Rutlandshire, and Yorkshire are all of them homes of both the Freers and the Fryers, the two names are probably different forms of the same name." [6]

Early History of the Fryar family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fryar research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1296, 1563, 1517, 1521, 1525, 1525, 1571, 1563, 1544, 1548, 1555, 1672, 1563, 1623, 1733, 1671, 1605 and 1598 are included under the topic Early Fryar History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fryar Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Freer, Fryer, Frier, Frere and others.

Early Notables of the Fryar family (pre 1700)

Prominent in the family at this time was John Fryer (d. 1563), English physician, born at Balsham, Cambridgeshire, educated at Eton and elected thence to King's College, Cambridge, in 1517. "He graduated B.A. in 1521 and M.A. in 1525. On 5 Nov. 1525 he was incorporated at Oxford, being one of three masters of arts who had been preferred to Cardinal Wolsey's college in that university." [7] John Fryer (fl. 1571), the English physician, who has been erroneously described as the son of John Fryer, M.D. (d. 1563) [q. v.], was born at Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire, and educated at Cambridge...
Another 98 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fryar Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fryar Ranking

In the United States, the name Fryar is the 10,081st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [8]

United States Fryar migration to the United States +

Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Fryar were among those contributors:

Fryar Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Edward Fryar, who landed in Virginia in 1654 [9]
  • Rich Fryar, who arrived in Virginia in 1666 [9]
Fryar Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Fryar, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [9]
Fryar Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Fryar, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1869 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Fryar (post 1700) +

  • Pearl Fryar, American topiary artist, subject of the 2006 documentary film, A Man Named Pearl
  • Hal Fryar (1927-2017), American actor and television personality, best known as Harlow Hickenlooper, the host of The Three Stooges Show in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Elmer E. Fryar (1914-1944), United States Army soldier, recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War II
  • Chris Fryar (b. 1970), American drummer, member of the Grammy Award winning group, Zac Brown Band
  • Freddy "The Beaumont Flyer" Fryar (b. 1936), American retired NASCAR American stock car racing driver, Snowball Derby Winner in 1981 and 1979
  • Irving Dale Fryar Sr. (b. 1962), former American college and professional football player, Bart Starr Man of the Year Award (1998)
  • William Fryar (1828-1912), English-born, Australian surveyor, politician, businessman and mining inspector
  • Godfrey Charles Fryar (b. 1950), Australian clergyman, 11th Bishop of Rockhampton (2003-2013)
  • Samuel Fryar (1863-1938), Irish solicitor, councillor and politician, Member of Parliament for West Down (1933-1938)

  1. Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  2. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  7. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  8. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  9. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8) on Facebook