Furfax History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Early Origins of the Furfax family
The surname Furfax was first found in Northumberland where the name was derived from the Anglo Saxon words foegr and feax which collectively meant "fair-haired."  "The true ancient family of Fairfax is supposed to be of Saxon origin, and to have been seated at Torcester in Northumberland a the period of the Conquest."  Shirley continues that the Yorkshire branch is perhaps more compelling, "In 1205, Richard Fairfax, the first of the family proved by evidence, was possessed of the lands of Ascahm, not far from the City of York. His grandson purchased the Manor of Walton in the West Riding, which continued for near six hundred years." Fuller in his book "Worthies of England" adds, "in his time [c. 1600-1700], twenty generations of Fairfaxes had resided on one spot, at Walton, co. York." So while there is no doubt the family was originally from Lincolnshire, the Yorkshire branch proves to be the strongest. Another early record points to the string Yorkshire heritage. "Gilling Castle, situated in a fine park on the west of the village [of Gilling], was built by Alan, Earl of Richmond, to repel the frequent attacks of the Saxons and Danes for the recovery of their lost estates; it was afterwards the seat of the Mowbrays, and since the time of Henry VII. has belonged to the family of Fairfax. The church is an ancient edifice with a tower, and contains a vault belonging to the Fairfax family. " 
Early History of the Furfax family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Furfax research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1205, 1490, 1475, 1520, 1450, 1505, 1464, 1521, 1560, 1640, 1580, 1635, 1588, 1665, 1597, 1673, 1609, 1644, 1665, 1725, 1612, 1671, 1623, 1700, 1592, 1675, 1634, 1702, 1637, 1690, 1656, 1716, 1711, 1687 and 1688 are included under the topic Early Furfax History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Furfax Spelling Variations
The name, Furfax, occurred in many references, and from time to time, it was spelt Fairfax, Fairfacks, Farefax, Fearfax, Ferfax, Furfax, Furfacks, Farefacks, Fearfacks and many more.
Early Notables of the Furfax family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Sir Thomas Fairfax (c.1450-1505) a direct ancestor of both Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge; Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521), an English Renaissance composer, six masses, two Magnificats, thirteen motets, nine part-songs and two instrumental pieces survive; Thomas Fairfax, 1st Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1560-1640), an English soldier, diplomat and politician; and his half-brother, Edward Fairfax (1580?-1635), an English translator; Henry Fairfax (1588-1665), an English priest and academic from Denton, Yorkshire; Charles Fairfax (1597-1673), an English antiquary and genealogist; Sir William Fairfax (1609-1644), an officer in the Parliamentary army...
Another 101 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Furfax Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Furfax family
The New World beckoned settlers from the Scottish-English borders. They sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. Some called them, less romantically, the "coffin ships." Among the early settlers bearing the Furfax surname who came to North America were: Lord Fairfax settled in Woodburn Maryland; Nicholas Fairfax settled in Maryland in 1634; William Fairfax (Baron) settled in Virginia in 1626; another William settled in Maryland in 1742.
Related Stories +
The Furfax 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: Je le feray durant ma vie
Motto Translation: I will do it so long as I live.
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.