This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Fairhurst, a hamlet near Parbold, not far from Wigan in Lancashire. The placename means "the beautiful wood or wooded hill", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "faeger", fair, lovely, with "hurst", wood or wooded hill. Locational surnames were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace, as in the first recording of the name (see below). The modern surname can be found recorded as Fairhurst, and the contracted form Fairest. Recordings from Lancashire Church Registers include: the marriage of Ralph Fairhurst and Margaret Webster on June 8th 1578, at Prescott; the christening of Thomas, son of Thomas Fairhurst, on January 16th 1592, at Wigan; and the christening of Edmund, son of Richard and Jene Fairhurst, on March 25th 1623, at Kirkham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Fairhurst, which was dated 1260, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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