Spelling History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Spelling is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Spelling family lived in Norfolk where "this surname is derived from the name of an ancestor, 'the son of Spileman.' " [1] However, another source claims the name was derived from "a learned man but more probably either a man who works by spells, or turns, with another, or a worker of spells or charms. " [2] And yet another source claims that the name was for a "preacher or orator; one who entertained by stories, songs, buffoonery or juggling. " [3]

Early Origins of the Spelling family

The surname Spelling was first found in Norfolk but by the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, the name was scattered throughout ancient Britain: John Speleman, Nottinghamshire; William Spelesman, Wiltshire; and Eustace Spileman, Oxfordshire. "There are nine entries of Spileman in the Hundred Rolls, representing five counties. " [1]

Kirby's Quest notes John Speleman and Roger Spileman in Somerset, 1 Edward III (during the first year of Edward III's reign.) [4]

Early History of the Spelling family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spelling research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1214, 1495, 1544, 1495, 1491, 1562, 1641, 1581, 1495, 1544, 1594, 1643, 1598, 1679, 1594, 1643, 1626, 1588, 1606, 1663, 1645, 1648 and 1660 are included under the topic Early Spelling History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spelling Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Speelman, Spellman, Spelman, Spilman, Spillman, Spillane, O'Spillane, Spilane, Spallon, Spollin, Splaine and many more.

Early Notables of the Spelling family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Spelman (1495?-1544), English judge of the King's Bench, born about 1495, was son of Henry Spelman, recorder of Norwich in 1491. "The Spelman family were of ancient descent, being sprung from Hampshire, where in the time of Henry III they held the manor of Brockenhurst; in the fourteenth century they appear to have settled in Norfolk, where they held the manor of Bekerton in the fifteenth century. " [5] Sir Henry Spelman (c.1562-1641) was an English antiquary from Congham, Norfolk, the eldest son of Henry Spelman (d. 1581), of Congham, and the...
Another 119 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Spelling Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Spelling family to Ireland

Some of the Spelling family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Spelling migration to Australia +

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

Spelling Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Michael Spelling, aged 26, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" [6]
  • Margaret Spelling, aged 28, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" [6]
  • Ann Spelling, aged 24, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" [6]
  • Biddy Spelling, aged 22, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Chatham" [7]


  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. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PHOEBE DUNBAR 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/phoebedunbar1852.shtml
  7. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CHATHAM 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/chatham1852.shtml.


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