Fairfoot

Fairfoot - what does Fairfoot surname mean?

Recorded in at least two spellings Farfoot and Fairfoot, this is an English surname of pre 7th century origins. It derives from either the place name of Fairford in the county of Gloucestershire, or the almost similar Farforth in Lancashire, or it is a nickame. Taking the locational possibility first. Both Fairford and Farforth have the same basic meaning of `a shallow river crossing`, and both appear as `Fareforde` in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, the worlds first truly complete gazetter of land ownership, for any country. The surnames are later, since in anycase few surnames existed, at least in a hereditary sense, before the medieval period. The first recording probably does relate to an original lord of the manor of Fairford, thisbeing Gundwi de Faierford in the pipe rolls of Gloucester in the year 1203, but Beatrix de Faierford, in the pipe rolls of the city of Lincoln in 1209, is certainly well away from any likely former home. This second recording is a good example of a locational name. These were usually given to `strangers` as easy identification after they left their former homes and moved elsewhere. Spelling being at best erratic and local accents very thick, often lead to the development of `sounds like` spellings. If the name was a nickname, as would seem to be the case with the recording of Adam Fairefot of Lancashire in the register of the abbey of Whalley in 1328, this would appear to indicate a good runner, one who was fleet of foot. However as the recording relates to an abbey, it is possible that there was some other localised explanation.

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