This is a popular English surname. It was also one of the very first of all known surnames to be created, and recordings are known to exist which show that the name was in use at least one thousand years ago. It derives from the pre 7th century Olde English phrase 'faere-cild' and does actually mean what it says, a beautiful child. It was originally a baptismal name for a baby, and since all babies are beautiful to somebody, many children were so named. Like all such endearment names which include as examples Dear, Darling, and Wellbeloved, in time it became both a first name and a surname. As a first name it continued in popularity right into the 18th century and was particularly used by the Puritans and more extreme protestants along with such names as Charity and Prudence. The very first of all surname recordings is believed to be that of Lefui Faeger Cild in the register of the abbey of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk in the year 1050 or thereabouts. A more conventional recording but still at the very beginings of hereditary surnames, is that of Robert Fairchild, in the tax rolls known as 'The fees,' for the county of Surrey in the year 1251.
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