This interesting and unusual surname is a variant of Farmer, which is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational name. The name is derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500), Old French "ferm(i)er", from the late Latin "firmarius". The term denoted in the first instance a tax-farmer, one who undertook the collection of taxes, revenues, and imposts, paying a fixed sum for the proceeds, and only secondarily someone who rented land for the purpose of cultivation. The term fixed is derived from the Latin "firmus". The occupational name was not applied to an owner of cultivated land before the 17th Century. The name development since 1238 (see below) includes: William le Farmere (1279, Cambridgeshire), Richard Fermor (1293, Devonshire), William Furmy (1565, Herefordshire) and Samuel Fermy (1689, London). There is also a place called Fermoy in County Cork, in Ireland, which means "the man of the plain", however, Irish surnames rarely derive from placenames, and there are no recordings of this name in Ireland. Among the sample recordings in Devon is the christening of James, son of James Elizabeth Fermoy, on October 28th 1750 at Stoke Damerel. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wiiliam le Fermer, which was dated 1238, The Feet of Fines, Essex, during the reign of King Henry 111, "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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