Spicer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Spicer was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Spicer is for a grocer which was in turn derived from the Old French word espice, of the same meaning. [1] [2]

"What we now call a grocer, because, inter alia, he deals in figs (grossi), the French call an epicier, or spicer, because he sells spices." [3]

Early Origins of the Spicer family

The surname Spicer was first found in Devon where conjecturally the Spicers were under tenants of the Count of Mortain at the time of the Norman Conquest. Benedict le Spicer was listed in the Rotuli de Oblatis et Finibus, at the time of King John. [4]

Some of the first entries in early rolls for the family include: William le Espicer in the Pipe Rolls for Kent in 1184; Bertram le Specier in the Pipe Rolls for Hampshire and in the Assize Rolls for Somerset in 1201; and Hugo le Especer in the Curia Regis Rolls for Cambridge in 1214. [5]

Later, the singular form of the name appeared: William Spice in the Feet of Fines for Suffolk in 1326; and Clement Spice in the Feet of Fines for Cambridgeshire in 1399. [5]

A search of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 revealed: Simon le Spicere, Cambridgeshire; William le Spicere, Oxfordshire; and William Speciar, Lincolnshire. Up in the north of England, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 show the name as both a trade name and a surname: Adam Spisar, spicer; and Giliaum Spyser, 1379. [6]

Continuing our quest north into Scotland, the name had the same meaning "spicer, dealer in spices," and two early entries, both as a result of the invasion of King Edward I of England: "Rauf le Spicer rendered homage, 1296, and Eustace Lespicer and Martin Lespicer rendered homage at Berwick, 1291." [7]

Early History of the Spicer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spicer research. Another 95 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1296, 1804, 1743, 1804, 1743, 1765, 1783, 1773, 1774, 1777, 1792 and 1804 are included under the topic Early Spicer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spicer Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Spicer were recorded, including Spicer, Spicers, Spice and others.

Early Notables of the Spicer family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Spicer (1743?-1804), English miniature-painter, born at Reepham, Norfolk, about 1743, and became a pupil of Gervase Spencer. He worked both on ivory and in enamel, and was one of the ablest miniaturists of the period. He was a member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and exhibited with them from 1765 to 1783; in 1773 he was secretary to the society. He exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy in 1774...
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Spicer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spicer Ranking

In the United States, the name Spicer is the 1,741st most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Spicer family to Ireland

Some of the Spicer family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Spicer migration to the United States +

The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Spicer arrived in North America very early:

Spicer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Gregory Spicer who settled in Virginia in 1618
  • Gregory Spicer, who arrived in Virginia in 1618 [9]
  • Henry Spicer, aged 28, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [9]
  • Edward, William, Richard and Henry Spicer who, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Mr. Edward Spicer, (b. 1614), aged 21, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Safety" arriving in Virginia in 1635 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Spicer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Spicer, who settled in Silly Cove in 1825

Canada Spicer migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Spicer Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Francis Spicer U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway, [Shelbourne], Nova Scotia on October 26, 1783 was passenger number 216 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on September 28, 1783 at Staten Island, New York, USA [11]
  • Miss. Mary Spicer U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 [11]
  • Mr. Robert Spicer U.E. who settled in Spencer's Island, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia c. 1784 [11]
  • Mr. Thomas Spicer U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 [11]
  • Mr. William Spicer U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Spicer Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

Australia Spicer migration to Australia +

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

Spicer Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Spicer, English convict from Gloucester, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Mr. James Spicer, English convict who was convicted in Kent, England for life, transported aboard the "David Lyon" on 29th April 1830, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [14]
  • Mr. John Spicer, British Convict who was convicted in Devon, England for life, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 25th June 1838, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [15]
  • Edward Spicer a shepherd, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Winchester" in 1838 [16]
  • William Clarke Spicer, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Recovery" in 1839 [17]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Spicer 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:

Spicer Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Spicer, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1836
  • T Spicer, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1838
  • Miss Jane Spicer, (b. 1841), aged , British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 24th May 1841 [18]
  • Mr. Richard Spicer, (b. 1841), aged , British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 24th May 1841 [18]
  • James Spicer, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Spicer 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. [19]
Spicer Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Ann Spicer, aged 26, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [9]
  • MissAnn Spicer, (b. 1609), aged 26, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Anne and Elizabeth" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [20]

Contemporary Notables of the name Spicer (post 1700) +

  • Sean Michael Spicer (b. 1971), American political strategist, 30th White House Press Secretary (2017), Chief Strategist for Republican National Committee (2015-2017)
  • Kimberly Spicer (b. 1980), American actress and model
  • Ishmail Spicer (1760-1832), American composer
  • Gunner's Mate First Class William Spicer (1864-1949), United States Navy sailor awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during the Spanish-American War
  • Jack Spicer (1925-1965), American poet
  • J. M. Spicer, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Minnesota, 1888 [21]
  • Henry Spicer, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Jefferson County 2nd District, 1877 [21]
  • George W. Spicer, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Saybrook, 1908 [21]
  • George W. Spicer, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Ledyard, 1891-94 [21]
  • Edward E. Spicer, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Groton, 1905-06, 1911-12; Defeated, 1906; Warden (Borough President) of Groton, Connecticut, 1909 [21]
  • ... (Another 23 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Blanch  Spicer (1896-1917), Canadian resident from East Advocate, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [22]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Hugh Hunter Spicer (1920-1939), British Marine with the Royal Marine aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [23]


Suggested Readings for the name Spicer +

  • Descendants of Nathan Spicer by Florence LeVan Spicer.

  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  8. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  9. ^ 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)
  10. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 5th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  11. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  12. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  13. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 26) America voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1829 with 176 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/america/1829
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd June 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/david-lyon
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  16. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) WINCHESTER 1838. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1838Winchester.htm
  17. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RECOVERY from London 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Recovery.htm
  18. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  19. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  20. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 23rd September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  21. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  22. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  23. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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