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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 brought much change, including many immigrants with new names. Spearman is a name for a watchman or guardian, and indicates the profession of the first person who used the name.


The surname Spearman 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." [1] 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." [2]

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Spearman, Speerman, Speirman, Spearmen, Speermen and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spearman research. Another 207 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1542, 1614 and 1645 are included under the topic Early Spearman History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Spearman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Spearman or a variant listed above:

Spearman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Spearman, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Harry Spearman and John settled in Virginia in 1608
  • James Spearman arrived in Virginia in 1650
  • Jam Spearman, who arrived in Virginia in 1650
  • Hannah Spearman, who landed in Maryland in 1670

Spearman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Mary Spearman arrived in Maryland in 1750


  • Armegis O. Spearman (b. 1978), former American football linebacker
  • John J. Spearman (b. 1824), American iron manufacturer
  • Frank Hamilton Spearman (1859-1937), American author
  • Doug Spearman (b. 1962), American actor
  • Glenn Spearman (1947-1998), American jazz tenor saxophonist
  • Charles Edward Spearman PhD, (1863-1945), English psychologist known for work in statistics
  • Sir Alexander Cadwallader Mainwaring Spearman (1901-1982), British Conservative Member of Parliament
  • Craig Murray Spearman (b. 1972), New Zealand cricketer
  • Sir Alexander Spearman (1901-1982), governor of the London School of Economics, Knighted in 1956


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.


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  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  2. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  4. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  5. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  9. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Spearman Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Spearman Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 4 April 2016 at 19:00.

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