This name derives from the Olde French "forest", (Late Latin "forestis", a derivative of "foris" meaning "outside"). The reference was originally to the woods around a manor house, and the surname was either topographic for someone who lived in or near a royal forest, or occupational for a keeper or worker in one. The Medieval English word "forest" referred specifically to the large tracts of woodland reserved for the purposes of hunting by the King and his nobles. The surname is first recorded in the early 13th Century, (see below).One, Adam ate Forest appears in the "Subsidy Rolls of Kent", dated 1300. One of the earliest recordings of the name in Ireland was the christening of William Forrest in St. Michan's, Dublin, on August 4th 1691. On September 17th 1963, Mary Ellen O' Sullivan and John Forrest were married in the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Schull, Co. Cork. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh de Foresta, which was dated 1204, "The Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King John, 1199 - 1216. 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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