This interesting surname of English origin with variant spellings Redfern, Redfearn, Redferne, etc., is a locational name from Redfern near Rochdale, Greater Manchester, deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "Read" meaning "Red" plus "fearn" "fern or bracken". The surname dates back to the mid 16th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Alice Redfearne who married William Midleton on July 5th 1590, at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, London, James Redfearn, of Redfern, is recorded in "The Wills of Chester (1604", and Edmund Redfearn, of the parish of Rochdale is also recorded in "The Wills of Chester (1616)". James Frank Redfern (1838-1876) was a sculptor. He began to exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1859, and executed many works for gothic church decoration. One John Redfern, aged 20 yrs, a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the Ottawa bound for New York on May 12th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Redferne witnessed the christening of his son Humphrie, which was dated 1567, at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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