Fearnley History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Fearnley comes from the family having resided in a forest glade carpeted with ferns. The name Fearnley is derived from two Old English elements: fearn, the old English word for ferns, and leah, a word for a clearing in a forest.

Early Origins of the Fearnley family

The surname Fearnley was first found in Farnley, a village and civil parish in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire. This place name dates back to c. 1030 and was originally spelt Fernleage eluding to its Saxon heritage. There were three listings of separate villages in the Domesday Book of 1086: Fernelai; Fernelei; and Fereleia. [1] All were in the same area of Yorkshire. There are two Farnley Halls each with different origins but neither were held by the Fearnley family. Alternatively, the name could have originated in Derbyshire at Fernilee, a township, in the parish of Hope, union of Chapel-en-le-Frith, hundred of High-Peak that was originally spelt Ferneley in the 12th century. Both place names literally mean "woodland clearing where ferns grow," from the Old English words "fearn" + "leah." [2] Some of the first records of the name include: Hugh de Fernlee who was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls of Worcestershire in 1206; and Hugh de Fernelay who was listed in Yorkshire in 1316. [3] The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had the following entries: Johannes de Farnelay, living at Fernelay; Johannes de Fernelee; Margeria de Fernelee; and Johanna de Ferenlowe. [4]

Early History of the Fearnley family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fearnley research. Another 36 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fearnley History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fearnley Spelling Variations

Fearnley has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Fearnley, Fernlie, Fernley and others.

Early Notables of the Fearnley family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Fearnley Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Australia Fearnley migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Fearnley Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Fearnley, British Convict who was convicted in York, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land)1836 [5]

New Zealand Fearnley 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:

Fearnley Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Fearnley, aged 21, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1865 [6]
  • George Fearnley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1880 [7]
  • Betty Fearnley, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1880 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Fearnley (post 1700) +

  • Rose Fearnley, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 1948 [8]
  • Charles Duncan Fearnley (1940-1962), English former first-class cricketer who played for Worcestershire (1962-1968)
  • Albert Fearnley (1924-1999), English rugby league footballer and coach
  • James Fearnley (b. 1954), English musician who plays accordion in the folk/punk band The Pogue
  • Thomas Fearnley (1729-1798), English immigrant from Hull, England to Frederikshald in Norway in 1753 where he became founder of one of the largest shipping companies, eponym of the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art
  • Stanley "Stan" Fearnley (b. 1947), English professional rugby league footballer who played from 1964 to 1977, Member of the England National Team in 1975
  • Henry "Harry" Fearnley (1935-2013), English professional footballer who played from 1952 to 1967
  • Harrison "Harry" Fearnley (1923-2012), English professional footballer who played from 1946 to 1956
  • Kurt Harry Fearnley OAM (b. 1981), Australian eight-time gold medalist, seven-time silver medalist wheelchair racer
  • Nils Olav Young Fearnley (1881-1961), Norwegian businessperson and landowner, son of Thomas Fearnley (1841-1927)
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1835
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 7th November 2010). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 12th November 2011). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 20) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html

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