Vacher

Vacher - what does Vacher surname mean?

Recorded as Fach, Fache, Facher, Faich, Faiche, Vache, and diminutives Fachen, Fachim, Fachin, Fachine, Vacher, Vachen and others, this is often an English surname, but of early French origins. It is occupational from the word vache meaning a cow or vacherie which describes a cow house, and hence by transference, a dairy farmer. The word was introduced into England after the famous Norman Conquest of 1066, but as the words and surnames Cowherd and Shepherd were well established, this surname only had a fringe following. In addition occupational surnames were not at first hereditary and only became so when a son followed his father or sometimes perhaps his mother, into the same line of business. Many did not, and hence thereafter would be known by both their own chosen occupation and their fathers, leading to much confusion. The first recording that we have is contradictory because it refers to a woman with that of Alicia la Vacher in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridge in the year 1273. Later examples include Richard de la Vache in the Hundred Rolls of Derbyshire in 1275. This name presumably meant Richard of the Cow house, rather than the literal translation of Richard of the Cow, unless of course the Cow was the name of a public house. Other examples are those of Phillip Faiche at St Mary Whitechapel, Stepnet, on July 23rd 1609, and Lewis Fache who married Sarah Hewitt at St Leonards Shoreditch, on July 7th 1805.

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