England following the Norman Conquest in 1066. It is a name for a butler or steward. The surname Spenser was originally derived from the Old French word despensier, of the same meaning.
Early Origins of the Spenser family
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. " CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
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." CITATION[CLOSE]
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." CITATION[CLOSE]
Early History of the Spenser family
Another 260 words (19 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 Spenser History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Spenser Spelling Variations
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 Spencer, Spenser, Spensor and others.
Early Notables of the Spenser family (pre 1700)
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...
Another 122 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Spenser Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Spenser family to Ireland
Some of the Spenser family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Spenser 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 Spenser name or one of its variants:
Spenser Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Contemporary Notables of the name Spenser (post 1700)
The Spenser 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: Dieu defend le droit
Motto Translation: God defends the right.
Spenser Family Crest Products