Fairburn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Fairburn is a name of Anglo-Saxon origin. It was a name given to a person with attractive, youthful looks, or someone who was noted as having been a beautiful child. The surname Fairburn is derived from the Old English words fair, which means lovely, and bearn, which means child.
However, the name Fairburn may also be a local surname applied to someone from the settlement of Fairbourne in Kent or Fairburn in the West Riding of Yorkshire. In this case, Fairburn belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.
Early Origins of the Fairburn family
The surname Fairburn was first found in North Yorkshire at Fairburn, a small village and civil parish in the Selby district that dates back to before the Domesday Book when it was listed as Fareburne c. 1030. A few years later in 1086, the Domesday Book lists the placename as Fareburne  and literally meant "stream where ferns grow," having derived from the Old English fearn + burna. 
Some of the first records of the family were Augustin and Robert Fayr(e)barn(e) who were listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Yorkshire in 1297. 
By the time of the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, spellings were quite varied: Johannes Fayrebame; Willelmus Fairebarn; and Robertus Fayrebarne were all listed there at that time as holding lands. 
In Scotland, the name literally means "beautiful child"  and the first record of the family was "Stephen Fairburn, burgess of Berwick on Tweed, [who] held the hostelry of the abbot and convent of Arbroath in Dundee c. 1327." 
Early History of the Fairburn family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fairburn research. Another 166 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1297, 1327, 1644, 1680, 1742, 1685, 1686, 1688, 1690, 1692 and 1693 are included under the topic Early Fairburn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fairburn Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Fairburn were recorded, including Fairbairn, Fairbairns, Fairbarn, Fairborn, Fairborne and many more.
Early Notables of the Fairburn family (pre 1700)
Notables of the family at this time include Sir Andrew Fairbairn; and Sir Palmes Fairborne (1644-1680), an English soldier and Governor of Tangier. He was "the son of Colonel Stafford Fairborne of Newark, and probably related to the Yorkshire family of that name." 
Sir Stafford Fairborne (d. 1742), was Admiral of the fleet and the eldest son of Sir Palmes Fairborne. "In June 1685 Stafford was lieutenant of the Bonadventure at Tangiers, and during the illness of his captain commanded the ship in a successful encounter with some Sallee vessels at Mamora. On 12 July 1686 he was...
Another 98 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fairburn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fairburn migration to New Zealand +
Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:
Fairburn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- E Fairburn, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1827
- R Fairburn, who landed in Thames, New Zealand in 1836
- W T Fairburn, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1836
- John Fairburn, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
- Thomas Fairburn, who landed in Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand in 1843
- ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Contemporary Notables of the name Fairburn (post 1700) +
- William Armstrong Fairburn (1876-1947), American author, naval architect, marine engineer, industrial executive, and chemist
- Charles Edward Fairburn (1887-1945), English electrical engineer, known for his pioneering work in rail transport and for his design of the Fairburn Tank 2-6-4T steam locomotives
- Arthur Rex Dugard "Rex" Fairburn (1904-1957), New Zealand poet
- Harold Fairburn CMG, KPM (1884-1973), British Inspector General of the Straits Settlements Police in Singapore from 1925 to 1935
Related Stories +
The Fairburn Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Nec cede arduis
Motto Translation: Not high yield
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print