This is a genuine French Huguenot (protestant) refugee surname of the 17th century. However it is also a genuine French surname which may even have entered England as far back as the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a short form of the original 'ferreor' which is job descriptive and the correct name for a 'worker in iron' - what is now generally called a 'smith'. In some cases the name can be locational and derive from places in France called Ferrieres in the Department of Eure, or Ferrieres in La Manche.The meaning is much the same - a place where iron was mined or iron products manufactured. The name would seem to be first recorded in England (in its near modern spelling) in the Elizabethan period when John Fere married Ales Hollande on April 16th 1567 at the famous church of St Mary Somerset, London. However given the erratic spelling of both surnames and the fact that Huguenot refugees did not arrive in England until some thirty years later, it is difficult to be conclusive. What is certain is that Pierre Ferre Le Tard, who married Marie Duchemin on October 6th 1692 at St James Church, Dukes Place, was definitely of French origins, as is the coat of arms granted in the province of Langedoc, which also happens to have been a protestant centre. The blazon is a blue field, charged with three gold bezants, all within a bordure chequy, of blue and gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sara Ferre, which was dated December 28th 1679, who was christened at the French Church, Threadneedle Street, London, during the reign of King Charles 11, known as 'The Merry Monarch', 1660 - 1685. 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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