Recorded in several spellings including Vearncombe, Vearncomb, and Vernacombe, this is an English surname. It is locational and almost certainly from a now "lost" medieval village somewhere in the West Country, and probably Devonshire, as that is where the first church recording is to be found in the time of King Henry V111 (1510 - 1547). It is probable that the name means "fern valley" with "v" and "f" being interchangeable in medieval times, but this is conjecture. What is certain is that the place of "combes, combs, and cumbs" all meaning valley, are specifically the counties of Devon and Somerset. Locational surnames of this type were also usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their native village, usually in search of work, and had moved elsewhere, one of the easiest forms of identification being to call people by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic, and local accents very thick, soon lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. In this case early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving church registers include Johannes Vernacombe, whose daughter Elenora, was christened at Ugborough, South Devon, on February 27th 1540, and Dorothie Vearncombe, who married Arthur Berket at the church of St Christopher Le Stocks, in the city of London, on April 7th 1635.
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