This unusual surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, is a locational name from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1384 also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The original place is believed to have been in Herefordshire. The component elements are the Olde English pre 7th Century "forne" meaning trout plus "eg", island or land situated on a stream, hence "island on a trout stream". The surname dates back to the mid 16th Century (see below). Church Records include the christening of Winifred Furney on September 9th 1624 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and the marriage of Robert Furney to Joane Lovell on July 4th 1639 at Much Marche, Herefordshire. A Coat of Arms granted to a Furney family at Perristone in Herefordshire is silver, a blue fesse between three red lions' heads erased, the Crest being a red lion's head erased. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elsabeth Furney which was dated 29th January 1563, marriage to Henry Gower at St. Bartholomew the Less, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, "Good Queen Bess", 1558-1603. 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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