This interesting surname is of English locational origin from Fairburn in the West Riding of Yorkshire or Fairbourne in Kent recorded respectively in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Fareburne" and "Fereburne". The component elements of the name are the Old English pre 7th Century "fearn" meaning fern plus "burna" a stream; hence "stream by which ferns grew". The surname may also be of Scottish locational origin from a place in the former county of Ross and Cromarty, now part of the Highland region. It was originally named with the Gaelic elements "far braoin" meaning "over the wet place". Locational names were originally given to the Lord of the Manor or as a means of identification to those who left their place of birth to seek work elsewhere. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below). In the modern idiom, the surname is also spelt Fairbourn, Fairbourne and Fairburne. On December 8th 1692 Ann Fairburn married James Oxburg at St. James Dukes Place, London and Samuel Fairburn married Ann Lucas on September 10th 1746 at St. George, Mayfair, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margaret de Fareburn, which was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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