A small minority of Fox families in Ireland will be descended from English settlers of the name; most are of native Irish ancestry being descended from a forebear who was designated by the sobriquet 'sionnach' meaning the fox. The most famous of these was Tadhg O'Cathernaigh, chief of Teffia in County Meath in the latter half of the 11th century, who was known as Sionnach, and many of whose descendants came to be known as Sionnach instead of their ancestral sept name O'Catharnaigh, which was usually anglicized as O'Caherny, Carney and Kearney. The associated arms are registered at Kilcourcy, Co. Tipperary. Recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The inland Munster county of Tipperary is second only in extent in Ireland to the Ulster county of Donegal, covering as it does over one million acres. The county is bounded on the east and north-east by the province of Leinster, having boundaries with the counties of Offaly, Leix and Kilkenny. On the south side County Tipperary has a boundary with County Waterford, marked for some distance by the River Suir. The community which mushroomed beside one rich colliery, which opened in the 18th century, one of the earliest to be exploited in the county, was named Coalbrook. Ironstone metal was also found in the pits there. As this county covered a large territory it accommodated anciently a number of septs; by the time of the arrival of the Anglo-Normans, branches of several Dalcassian septs from Thomond had also established themselves in the area. A notable member of the family name was Sir Charles Fox (1810-1874) the English civil engineer born in Derby. He built the Crystal palace which housed the Great Exhibition in 1851. He also did much railway construction with his two sons, Sir Charles Douglas and Sir Francis, both eminent engineers. 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.
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