Recorded in the spellings of Fairley and Fairlie, which are (usually) separate Scottish clan surnames, and Fairleigh and Farley, which are usually English, this is a complex surname. However spelt all surnames are locational from the various villages called Fairley and Fairlie. All are in spelling from Olde English pre 7th century, although the meanings vary, and are mostly unproven. In all cases the meaning could be either 'the fair feld', the original word 'feld' referred more to a large open space, than the later field, with its concept of a fenced area, or to 'the boars feld' from the word 'eofor' meaning boar or hog, and possibly a place where wild boar were hunted, or the 'fern covered feld', or even the 'far feld', the feld furthest from the main village, which in time became a village in its own right. The family of Fairlie of Braid in Scotland claim descent from Robert, the Bruce, (1306 - 1329), but in fact were of earlier origins, being previously prominent in the affairs of Edinburgh. The Scottish Fairleys whose name has confusingly been spelt as Fairlie and even Farnley, originate from the barony of Fairlie in Ayrshire, granted to William de Fairlie, and were prominent there in 1355. In England, where the name is widespread, Adam de Farlegh held lands in Somerset in the year 1273, as did Hugh de Farleye in the county of Suffolk in the same year.
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