Despencer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Despencer is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a name for a butler or steward. The surname Despencer was originally derived from the Old French word despensier, of the same meaning.
Early Origins of the Despencer family
The surname Despencer was first found in Leicestershire where "in the eighteenth year of William the Conqueror lived Robertus Dispensator, otherwise called Le Despencer, because he was steward to the king. In the reign of Henry I. there were a William le Despencer and a Thurston Dispencer, but these last were only successors in office, or actual descendants of Robert is not known, and the like uncertainty prevails as to subsequent bearers of the name. " 
At this time, some of the family held a family seat at Loughborough. "The noble family of Despenser, anciently possessors of the manor, obtained the grant of a market and fairs for the town." 
Later, a branch of the family was found at Yarnton, or Yarington in Oxfordshire. "The church is ancient, with a tower built in 1612, by Sir Thomas Spencer. He also erected the aisle in which he is interred, as a sepulchral chapel for his family, who resided in the old manor-house near the church, the remains of which are now occupied as a farmhouse. In a recess in the aisle is an altar-tomb, with recumbent effigies of Sir William Spencer and his lady; and the churchyard contains a cross embellished with figures in full length, now much mutilated." 
Important Dates for the Despencer family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Despencer research. Another 144 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1259, 1342, 1402, 1593, 1661, 1621, 1629, 1661, 1570, 1627, 1591, 1636, 1594, 1656, 1621, 1648, 1620, 1643, 1617, 1684, 1601, 1671, 1630 and 1693 are included under the topic Early Despencer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Despencer Spelling Variations
Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Despencer were recorded, including Spencer, Spenser, Spensor and others.
Early Notables of the Despencer family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Philip Le Despencer, 1st Baron le Despenser (1342-1402), son and heir of Sir Philip le Despenser of Goxhill, son of Sir Philip Le Despencer; Richard Spencer (1593-1661), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1621 to 1629 and in 1661, he supported the Royalist cause in the English Civil War; Robert Spencer, 1st Baron Spencer of Wormleighton KG (1570-1627), an English peer; William Spencer, 2nd Baron Spencer of Wormleighton (1591-1636), an English peer; Sir Edward...
Another 86 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Despencer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Despencer family
The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Despencer arrived in North America very early: Thomas Spencer settled in Virginia in 1623; William Spencer settled in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1630; Thomas Spencer settled in Maine in 1630; Peter and John Spencer settled in Barbados in 1635.
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- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.