Sparkes History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Sparkes is tied to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of England. It comes from the baptismal name Sparrowhawk, and in " 'the son of Sparrowhawk'; found as early as Domesday [Book] in the forms Sperhauoc (Nottinghamshire) [and] Sparhauoc (Suffolk.)" [1] The name could have been a nickname as in 'the sparrow - hawk,' having derived from the Middle English word "sperhauke." Another source notes the name could have been derived from the Old Norse words "sparkr" or "sproek" which meant "lively, sprightly." [2]

Early Origins of the Sparkes family

The surname Sparkes was first found in Lincolnshire where William Sperc was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1202. A few years later, Ralph Sparke was listed in Suffolk in 1221. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Sparhcuk Sutor in Suffolk; Thomas Sperheuk in Lincolnshire; and Nicholas Sparke in Norfolk. [1] John Sparhauk was rector of St Buttolph the Abbot, Norwich in 1351 and Kirby's Quest listed Gilbert Sperhauk in Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of Edward III's reign.) [3]

Later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists Magota Spark and Robertus Spark as both living there at that time. [1]

Early History of the Sparkes family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sparkes research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1613, 1407, 1698, 1566, 1554, 1603, 1583, 1591, 1574, 1640, 1628, 1629, 1636, 1680, 1677, 1680, 1548, 1616, 1584, 1604, 1628, 1677, 1660, 1683, 1740 and 1692 are included under the topic Early Sparkes History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sparkes Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Sparkes has undergone many spelling variations, including Sparke, Spark, Sparkes, Sparks and others.

Early Notables of the Sparkes family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include John Sparke (died 1566), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Plympton Erle in 1554; John Sparke (d.1603) of Plymouth, Devon, Mayor of Plymouth in 1583 and 1591; and his son, John Sparke (c. 1574-1640), an English politician from The Friary, in the parish of St Jude, Plymouth, Devon, who sat in the House of Commons from 1628 to 1629; and his grandson, John Sparke (1636-1680) an English landowner and...
Another 78 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sparkes Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sparkes Ranking

In Newfoundland, Canada, the name Sparkes is the 172nd most popular surname with an estimated 231 people with that name. [4]


United States Sparkes migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Sparkes were among those contributors:

Sparkes Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Sparkes, who settled in Virginia in 1616
  • William Sparkes, aged 24, who arrived in Virginia in 1616 [5]
  • John Sparkes, who arrived in Virginia in 1622 [5]
  • Jon Sparkes, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • Grace Sparkes, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Sparkes migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sparkes Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Richard Sparkes, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Sparkes migration to Australia +

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

Sparkes Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Richard Sparkes, English convict who was convicted in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Dromedary" on 11th September 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Mr. James Sparkes, (b. 1815), aged 24, English farm labourer who was convicted in Surrey, England for 15 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Canton" on 20th September 1839, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1856 [7]
  • Edmond Sparkes, aged 29, a toolmaker, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Omega" [8]
  • Jane Sparkes, aged 19, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Taymouth Castle" [9]
  • Joseph Sparkes (aged 40) arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Aurora"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Sparkes 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:

Sparkes Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Ann Sparkes, (b. 1863), aged 8 months, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Brothers Pride" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [10]
  • Mrs. Rebecca Sparkes, (b. 1828), aged 35, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Brothers Pride" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [10]
  • Mr. William Sparkes, (b. 1829), aged 34, British joiner travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Brothers Pride" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [10]
  • Mr. William Sparkes, (b. 1852), aged 11, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Brothers Pride" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [10]
  • Miss Rebecca Sparkes, (b. 1854), aged 9, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Brothers Pride" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 8th December 1863 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Sparkes migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [11]
Sparkes Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Joseph Sparkes, aged 23, who landed in Jamaica in 1684 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Sparkes (post 1700) +

  • John Charles Lewis Sparkes (1833-1907), English art teacher, director the Royal College of Art 1875 to 1898
  • George Sparkes (1845-1908), English cricketer
  • Ken Sparkes (1940-2016), Australian breakfast radio presenter, television personality
  • Reginald Ford Sparkes (1906-1990), Newfoundland educator, author and politician who represented St. Barbe in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly from 1949 to 1956
  • Brian G. Sparkes (1941-2011), Canadian biochemist, recipient of the Ambroise Pare Award in 1994
  • Bernard L. Sparkes (b. 1940), Canadian world champion curler from Claresholm, Alberta inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall Of Fame in 1995
  • Ali Sparkes (b. 1966), British author, nominated for the 2007 Bolton Children's Book Award
  • Lindsay Sparkes (b. 1950), born Lindsay Davie, Canadian five-time gold medalist curler from North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • John Sparkes (b. 1954), Welsh BAFTA Award winning comedian born in Swansea, known on Welsh television as the Barry Welsh
  • Leonora Sparkes (b. 1883), British mezzo-soprano for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City from 1908
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Ernest Sparkes (b. 1921), English Marine serving for the Royal Marine from Radford, Coventry, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
SS Southern Cross
  • Mr. Thomas Sparkes (b. 1914), Newfoundlander from Brigus who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found
  • Mr. Noah Sparkes (b. 1914), Newfoundlander from Brigus who was aboard the "SS Southern Cross" when it is suspected she sank between the 31st March 1914 and early April during the storm with a heavy load of pelts; no survivors were ever found


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  4. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dromedary
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canton
  8. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) OMEGA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/omega1852.shtml
  9. ^ South Australian Register Thursday 4th May 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Taymouth Castle 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/taymouthcastle1854.shtml.
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm


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