This rare and unusual surname of Anglo-Saxon, Old French or Irish origin has three possible sources; it may be derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "farhyne", which is either an occupational name for an oxherd, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "fearr", bull and "hine", servant, or a nickname from the Olde English "faeger", handsome, fair, lovely, and "hine", as before. The second source is from a variant of Farrant which has itself two possible derivations: the first being from a nickname for a person with grey hair or for someone who used to dress in grey, from the Old French "ferrant", (iron-) grey, a derivative of "fer", iron, from the Latin "ferrum"; the second being from the medieval given name "Fer(r)ant", probably in origin an Old French form of "Ferdinand", from the Visigothic "fareth", journey, expedition, and "naneth", daring, brave; however, the name was associated early with the colour term. The third source of the name Varran or Farren is from an Anglicization of the Gaelic "O'Farachain", meaning descendant of Farachan, a personal name which may be derived from "forcha", bolt of thunder, lightning. One William Varyn was recorded in the 1332 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, and Nathaniel Farren was recorded in the 1674 Hearth Tax Returns of Suffolk. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Farhyn, which was dated 1297, in the "Ministers' Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall", during the reign of King 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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