This intersting name which is now widespread, is a local, dialectual pronunciation, and originates from the Village of Farnley in Yorkshire, which were spelt as Fernelay in the 1379 Poll Tax Records. The name is Old English pre 7th Century. 'Fearn-Leagh' meaning 'The Farm in the Clearing in the Fern'. Like most locational names, it was given either to the Lord of the Manor as below or to a former inhabitant who moved to another area. Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Ferneley, Fearneley, Fernely, Fernley, etc.. Anthony, son of John Ferneley, was christened on June 21st 1573, at St. Mary Somerset, London. Elizabeth Fearneley married George Nunn on January 1st 1st 1623, in London. Thomas, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Fearnley, was christened at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London, on August 26th 1685, and Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas and Ann Fearnley, was christened on December 9th 1755, at St. Katherine by the Tower, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johanner de Fernelay. which was dated 1379, in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls. during the reign of King Richard 11, known as Richard of Caernafon 1378 - 1400. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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