The name Spearhan was brought to England
by the Normans
when they conquered the island in 1066. It is a name for a watchman or guardian,
and indicates the profession of the first person who used the name.
Early Origins of the Spearhan family
The surname Spearhan was first found in Shropshire
where they were known as the Spearmans of Dunnington, anciently spelt Donington. The village at this time was only a Mill, and was owned by Earl Roger, from whom the Spearmans are conjecturally descended. Nearby is St.Cuthbert's well, the water of which is said to cure eye complaints. The family was "seated there since the Conquest, and said to be descended from the old Lords of Aspramont." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
A branch of the family was found at early times in Thornley in Durham
. "The township comprises the two estates of Thornley Hall and Gore Hall, both of which have been the property of the Spearman family for more than 150 years. Thornley Hall, a spacious mansion supposed to occupy the site of the castle, is situated on a commanding eminence." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Spearhan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spearhan research.Another 207 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1542, 1614 and 1645 are included under the topic Early Spearhan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Spearhan Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations
. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Spearman, Speerman, Speirman, Spearmen, Speermen and others.
Early Notables of the Spearhan family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Spearhan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Spearhan family to the New World and Oceana
Because of the political and religious discontent in England
, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Spearhan name or one of its variants: Harry Spearman and John settled in Virginia in 1608; 12 years before the "Mayflower" arrived; James Spearman arrived in Virginia in 1650; Mary Spearman arrived in Maryland in 1750..
The Spearhan Motto
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Dum spiro spero
Motto Translation: While I have breath I hope.