Recorded in many spelling forms including: Farrar, Farrer, Farra, Farrah, and the dialectals Pharro and Pharoah, this is an English medieval surname. However it is of Old French pre 10th century origins, deriving from the term "ferreor" meaning iron, and ultimately from the Roman (Latin) "ferrum". As such in pre medieval times the name was occupational for a person who owned iron ore quarries or who smelted iron. The surname is first recorded in the latter part of the 13th Century, (see below), and was originally most recorded in the county of Yorkshire as the following early examples indicate: Willilmus Ferour and Hugo Farrour, in the Poll Tax returns for the county in 1379, whilst John Pharor, given as being a "Magister doctor" is recorded in the register of the guild of Corpus Christi, for the city of York,and dated 1517-1518. Other recordings of the surname from these post medieval records include Robert Pharoe, the son of Edward Pharoe, christened at the famous church of St. Dunstan'sin the East, in the city of London, on October 18th 1607, and the christening of Benjamin, son of Ellis Pharaoh, in St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, on April 29th 1694. 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 King Edward 1st of England, 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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