This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical surname found mainly in the south-western counties of England. It denotes residence on or by a piece of land that was thickly grown with gorse, the derivation being from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "fyrse", meaning "furze, gorse". A typical example of the topographical nature of the surname is that of John atte Furse, recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. The modern surname can be found as "Furse", "Furze", "Furzer", "Furseman" and "Furzeman". One Marye Furzer married William Forde at Yarcombe in Devonshire on the 29th May 1616 and in London, at St. Olave's, Hart Street, Mary Furzer was christened on the 9th December 1699. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de la Fursa, which was dated 1168, The Devonshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry II, The Builder of Churches, 1154 - 1189. 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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