Recorded in many forms including Farnall, Farnell, Farnhill, Vearnal, Vernall and Vearnals, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname. It may be either a topographical name from residence by a fern covered hill, deriving from the pre 7th century words "fearn or vearn" meaning fern, with a fused form of "hyll", or as a locational name from any of the places named with the above elements. These places include the various places called Farnell in Kent and Wiltshire, as well as Farnhill in the West Riding of Yorkshire and Fernhill in the counties of Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Worcestershire and Lancashire or Vernal in Hampshire. Some instances of the surname may derive from Farnell in the former county of Angus, Scotland (now part of the Tayside region). Duncan de Ferneul, who witnessed charters by Malcolm, earl of Angus, between 1214 and 1246, is the earliest known namebearer from this source. Recordings from English charters and registers include: William de Vernhulle of Hampshire in 1263; Hugh de la Fernhull of Worcestershire, in 1275, and William atte Farnhulle of Surrey, in 1298. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Farenhull, which was dated 1214, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Berkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.