Fairlem

Fairlem - what does Fairlem surname mean?

This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is habitational from a place called Farlam in Cumbria; from this source the surname has been altered to `Fairlamb` by folk etymology. The placename is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century `fearn`, fern, and the dative plural of the Olde English `leah`, wood, clearing, and means `(at) the fern clearings`. The placename was first recorded as `Farlam` in the `Place Names of Cumbria` in 1169, and as `Furlaham` in the Papal Registers of 1183. However, the surname may also be from a nickname, derived from the Olde English `faeger`, lovely, fair, beautiful and `lamb`, lamb; this nickname may have resulted from the frequent use of this form of address. The modern surname can be found as Fairlambe, Farlam, Farlamb(e), Fairlam and Farlham. Recorded in the Cumbria Church Registers are the marriage of Anthony Fairlamb and Elizabeth Hewtson on September 29th 1731 at Alston, and the christenings of John, son of Anthony Fairlamb, on July 14th 1748, and of Cuthbert, son of John Fairlamb, on March 13th 1769, both at Alston. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Ffarlham, which was dated 1332, in the `Subsidy Rolls of Cumbria`, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as `The Father of the Navy` 1327-1377. 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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