This interesting surname, with variant spellings, Follin, Follan, Folan, Fallo(o)n, Fullen, Fullo(o)n, etc., has two distinct possible origins. Firstly, it may have originated as an occupational name from the old French "fulun", a fuller or dresser of cloth. The work of the fuller was to scour and thicken the raw cloth by beating and trampling it in water, and the surname from this source was first recorded in the early 13th Century, (see below). One, William le Fulun was noted in the 1223 "Calendar of the Patent Rolls", Yorkshire.The second distinct possibility is that Follen is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic surnames O' Fallamhain or O' Fulain. The Gaelic prefix "O" indicates "male descendant of", plus the personal bynames "Fallamhan", meaning "leader" from "follamhas", supremacy, and "fulan" literally meaning "wretch". Both these septs were chiefly found in the Connacht counties of Galway, Mayo and Sligo. On November 24th 1633 Rebecca, daughter of David Follen, was christened in St. Giles, Cripplegate, London and on February 28th 1878 Jacobus Follen and Brigida Noon were married in Calry Roman Catholic Church, Co. Sligo. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph le Fullun, which was dated 1219, in the Assize Court Rolls of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "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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