This name, with variant spellings Ferneyhough, Fernihough, Fearnehough, and Fearny(h)ough, derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "fearn" meaning "fern", plus "hoh", a projecting ridge of land, and was originally given as a topographical name to one resident by a hill spur overgrown with ferns. The surname was first recorded in the early part of the 14th Century, (see below). The high incidence of recordings from church registers of Staffordshire and Cheshire suggest that there may have been a place thus called in this area of England. On November 13th 1567 Randle Fearnough, an infant, was christened in St. John the Baptist, Chester, and on October 8th 1584 Alicia Fernyhoughe and Richardus Pyott were married in Kingsley, Staffordshire. The marriage of Thomas Fearnehough and Mary Thornley, took place in St. John the Baptist, Chester, on September 29th 1720. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Fernyhough, which was dated 1332, "The Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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