This interesting surname is of topographical origin and is a compound of the Olde English pre 7th Century element "faeger" meaning fair or beautiful, plus the Olde Norse "holmr", a small island or a piece of land partly surrounded by streams; hence "dweller on the beautiful island". Topographical surname were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle-Ages. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 14th Century (see below). One, Johannes Fayrhome, appears in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire (1379). A Coat of Arms granted to the Fairholm family depicts a shield divided in quarter; on the first and forth there is a red anchor on a gold field and on the second and third, a black boar's head erased on a silver field within a blue border. On the Crest there is a dove with an olive branch in its beak proper. The motto "Spero meliora" translates as "I hope for better things". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Fairhome which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.