This interesting surname is of English locational origin from either Farlow in Shropshire or Fairley in Shropshire. Farlow, recorded as "Fernelau" in the Domesday Book of 1086 derives its name from the old English pre 7th Century "fearn" meaning fern plus "hlaw" a low hill or mound; hence "a fern-clad hill". Fairley, recorded as "Fernelege" in the Domesday Book, is composed of the old English elements "fearn" fern plus "leah" a clearing; hence "clearing overgrown with ferns". Locational names were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their village or place of origin to settle elsewhere, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the mid 13th Century (see below). In the modern idiom, the surname has many variant spellings including Varlow, Fairlaw, Furlow, Farloe, Farlowe, Farlew etc.. On February 7th 1585, Henry, son of Henry Farlow was christened at St. Michael Bassishaw, London and the marriage of Katheren Farlow and Thomas Robinson was held at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London on August 29th 1596. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip de Farlawe, which was dated 1255, in the Hundred Rolls of Shropshire, 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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