Fairholm

Fairholm - what does Fairholm surname mean?

This interesting surname is of topographical origin and is a compound of the Olde English pre 7th Century element `faeger` meaning fair or beautiful, plus the Olde Norse `holmr`, a small island or a piece of land partly surrounded by streams; hence `dweller on the beautiful island`. Topographical surname were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle-Ages. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 14th Century (see below). One, Johannes Fayrhome, appears in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire (1379). A Coat of Arms granted to the Fairholm family depicts a shield divided in quarter; on the first and forth there is a red anchor on a gold field and on the second and third, a black boar`s head erased on a silver field within a blue border. On the Crest there is a dove with an olive branch in its beak proper. The motto `Spero meliora` translates as `I hope for better things`. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Fairhome which was dated 1379, in the `Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire`, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as `Richard of Bordeaux`, 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to `develop` often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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