This most unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and originated either as a nickname for a powerfully built or strong man, or a lusty man, or as a metonymic occupational name for an oxherd, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "fearr", Middle English "farre", meaning bull. Hence, the surname is a good example of the sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. Nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to a person's habits of dress and occupation. The surname itself was first recorded in the mid 12th Century (see below), while one Simon Farr was mentioned in 1381, in "Archaeological Records of Kent". Edward Farr was one of the earliest settlers in St. Christopher's parish in the Barbadoes, having embarked from London on the "Amitie" in October 1635. William Farr (1807 - 1883) was a notable statistician and commissioner of the 1871 Census. A Coat of Arms was granted to a Farr family in Beccles, Norfolk, which depicts a gold saltire, surmounted of another of the first between four red fleurs-de-lis, on a red shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas le Ferre, which was dated circa 1154, in "The History of St. Bartholomew's Hospital" (London), during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189). 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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