Recorded as Farren, Farian, Farran, Varian, Varran, Varren, Verran, Veryan, Verryan, Verring, Verrion, and others, this is a surname of at least three possible origins. It may be Olde English, Old French or Gaelic Irish and can either originate from the medieval "farhyne", which is either an occupational name for an oxherd, from the pre 7th century word "fearr", meaning a bull and "hine", a servant, or as a nickname from "faeger", meaning handsome, and "hine", as before. The second is a variant of Farrant which is either a nickname for a person with grey hair or the Old French personal name Ferrant, a form of Ferdinand.The third possible source is from the Gaelic surname O' Farachain, "forcha", meaning a bolt of lightning! Early examples of the surname recording include William Varyn in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Sussex in 1332, William Verrian at St Olaves Sothwark, in 1640, Nathaniel Farren recorded in the Hearth Tax Returns of Suffolk in 1667, and Francis Varian or Varrian at St Anne Soho, Westminster, in 1725. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Farhyn. This was dated 1297, in the "Ministers' Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall", during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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