This interesting and unusual surname, with variant spellings Farrar, Farrer, Farra, Farrah, Pharro, Pharoah, etc., derives from the Medieval English and Old French terms "ferreor" and "ferour", derivatives of "fer", iron, from the Latin "ferrum", and was originally given as an occupational name to a worker in iron. The surname first appears on record in the latter part of the 13th Century, (see below), and is most widespread in Yorkshire as the following recordings indicate: Willilmus ferour and Hugo Farrour - the 1379 "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire" and magister doctor Pharor - "Register of the Corpus Christi Guild", York, dated 1517-1518. Recordings of the surname showing the initial "Ph-" for "F" include the christening of Robert, son of Edward Pharoe in St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, on October 18th 1607; the christening of Benjamin, son of Ellis Pharaoh, in St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, on April 29th 1694, and the christening of Ambrace, son of Thomas Pharoah in Farnham, Surrey, on November 6th 1816. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas le Ferrur, which was dated 1275, in the "Close Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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