The Frewing surname - Frewing website address.

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Posted by Robert Frewin on December 14, 1998 at 11:35:43:

In Reply to: The Frewing surname - Frewing website address. posted by Loriane Frewing on December 06, 1998 at 16:12:44:

I am not any sort of expert on heraldry and hope Loriane Frewing did not infer
that I was asking to have the arms removed from the Frewing site! They look
very nice (but I cannot read the history attached.) I know very little about
the topic. Most of the little I do know relates to Ireland, not England or
Scotland, all of which differ substantially on this matter. The purpose of my
last posting was to ascertain if the Frewings had research to show if some of
us have the rights to "bear" the Frewen arms.

Arms became common after the Crusades and each "emblem" went with a specific
area of land - the knight raised soldiers from his territory for service with
the king and his coat of arms enabled his soldiers to identify him. (All tin
cans without labels look the same!) Land ownership changed over time, often
the owners had more than one territory and there was confusion. After a
meeting in Paris in c1400 (?) they were vested in the individual rather than
the territory. The rest of Europe followed suit.

In the UK the Crown, via the Chief Herald (Lion/Lyon Kingof Arms?) (in Ireland
it is the "Ulster King of Arms" ) grants/confirms arms to the individual
(usually male) after a very long process. Legal documents detailing the
transaction are supplied with the grant. They are the owner's "property" and
cannot be used by others. I'm not sure how they are passed on to the owner's
progeny - I believe that they transfer to the senior male of each generation.
(Hence the different arms I have for other family members, albeit with many
common features.) If this is the case one must prove direct senior descent
from the grantee before one could use the arms.

Even if the arms were available to all family descendants of the grantee one
would have to prove the family connection. If that is the case and for
example, Stephen Frewen, (the wealthy merchant and purchaser of Brickwall in
1666) received the grant of arms, I believe that I would not be eligible to
use them as I am descended from his half-brother (Thomas), not from one of his

The Brickwall/Northiam Frewen tree is very complete - it lists all the family
back to the late 1400's and almost all are accounted for. If the arms shown on
your site were granted to a Frewen since +/- 1550 (when the "Northiam" Frewens
left Worcester to settle in Sussex) it would suggest that any
"Frewing/Frewin/Fruin" family would probably be ineligible as there was not
any contemporary Northiam Frewen connection with Buckinghamshire, where you
state the Frewings come from.

If the arms on your site were in use from the early days of heraldry i.e.
prior to +/- 1300 - there should not be a problem for any of us to use them as
nobody could disprove our claim.

In relation to the spelling of the name, all the records I have seen on the
Northiam family are "Frewen." However, between c1750 and c1800 some of the
Irish Frewens spelled the name "Fruin," "Frewin" and "Fruen." Prior to and
after those dates it is "Frewen." I have never come across a Frewing in

The problem I have with many of today's genealogy companies is that primarily
they are in the business of making money and genealogy is a secondary
consideration - they sell you what you are hoping to find and take short cuts
to give you what you want. This is very much the case with "family crests."
Most Irish families never had a crest/arms yet every tourist shop in Ireland
has them for sale. The legitimate owner of the arms could sue (similar basis
to breach of copyright) and in the US the additional charge of "mail fraud"
could be brought against anyone who advertised to "mail you your family coat
of arms."

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