Fairbrass

Fairbrass - what does Fairbrass surname mean?

This very unusual surname is recorded in several `associated spellings. These include Farbrache, Ferbrach, Ferbrache, Furbranche, Ferbusher, and possibly others. The spelling forms particularly as Farbrache and Ferbrache clearly indicate a French origin, and would be accepted as such except for two points of issue. The first known English recordings in the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London for the 17th century, give no indication of a `French` origin, in fact the reverse. Secondly neither the registers of France, nor the `Dictionnaire de noms de famille de France`, list the surname in any of the known spellings! So where does it originate? Our opinon is that it is a development of the more popular surname `Firebrace, Fairbrass and Farbrace`. This is probably proved by the first known recording of those names when John Fierebrache of Oxford, appears in the Pipe Rolls for that city in the year 1190. The name means `Iron arm`, no doubt a reference to a soldier or a pretty tough customer. Other recordings are those of Ann Farbrache who married Thomas Major at All Hallows, London Wall, on November 3rd 1650, whilst in 1737 a Huguenot refugee recorded at the French church known as Le Savoye, Spring Gardens, London on October 18th of that year, was one Pierre Ferbranche!

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