Recorded in several spellings including Fouracre, Foracre, Fouracres and Foweraker, this is an English medieval surname. It is topographical, and in a sense it is a status title in that it describes a person who lived at a small holding of four acres. In medieval times it was calculated that to provide a reasonable lifestyle for the average family of a husband, wife and two children, an area of four acres was required. On top of this acreage, would have been access to the local common grazing lands, which in turn would have supported a number of animals, at least during the summer months. The early recordings are all from the West Country, which is interesting as this region aided by the milder weather, has traditionally provided the best agricultural and grazing lands in the country. Clearly in other areas and certainly further north, a holding would logically have required to be much larger. Purely statistically in the 20th century, despite the country having a population at least fifteen times that of the medieval times, it would still be theoretically possible, and using all available land, to give each person in the country, their one acre! The early recordings of the surname include: William Fourakre of Somerset in the subsidy tax rolls for that county in 1327, and William Foweracres, listed in the Wills of Devonshire, for the year 1682.
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