Recorded in the International Genealogical Index in a number of overlapping spellings including Farmile, Farmelow, Farmloe, Farmlow, Farmilo, Farmiloe, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is clearly locational, and if the spelling of the surname is in any way accurate, probably originates from the pre 7th century Olde English 'fearn-hlaw' meaning the fearn covered hill. Similar place names with similar meanings are Fairmile in Devonshire and Surrey, believed to mean the fern covered hill, Farlow in Shropshire which also means the fern covered hill, and Farmcote in Gloucestershire, meaning the cottage in the ferns. However in this case we cannot definately prove the origin, so we believe from experience that it is may be one of the five thousand or so British Isles surnames from a now 'lost' medieval villages. As to why so many places have disappeared over the past five centuries has been the subject of several books. In general the cause can can be put down to changes in agricultural practices with the introduction of sheep farming, rapacious landlords, and natural disasters such as the various 'Great plagues' which swept through Europe in the Middle Ages upto 1665. The surname in this case whilst always rare has been recorded in the surviving church registers of the city of London since the 18th century with examples such as Francis Farmelow at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone on February 1st 1784, and Hely Farmelo who married James Pearce at St Olaves Southwark, on November 26th 1785.
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