This surname FAIR was derived from the old English FAEGER meaning fair and beautiful. It was occasionally used as a personal name. The name appears to be familiar to the Norfolk area. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Edeua Faira who was listed as a tenant in chief in the Domesday Book of 1086. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday Book. Other records of the name include Pulchra (without surname) who appears in County Suffolk in 1191 and Henry le Vayre who appears in 1297 in Cornwall. William Fayhar was the precentor of Ross in 1345, and Andrew Fairhead had to stand in sackcloth for quarrelling in time of divine service in 1661. Juliana Fairhead was listed in Lancashire in 1469, and Peter Butcher married Agnes Fayerhed in Essex in 1587. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification, for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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