Spilman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Spilman arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Spilman 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 Spilman family

The surname Spilman 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 Spilman family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spilman 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 Spilman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spilman Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Speelman, Spellman, Spelman, Spilman, Spillman, Spillane, O'Spillane, Spilane, Spallon, Spollin, Splaine and many more.

Early Notables of the Spilman 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 Spilman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Spilman family to Ireland

Some of the Spilman 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.


United States Spilman migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Spilman or a variant listed above were:

Spilman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Hanna Spilman, who landed in Virginia in 1620 [6]
  • Thomas Spilman, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624 [6]
  • John Spilman, who arrived in Virginia in 1662 [6]

Canada Spilman migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Spilman Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Jos Spilman, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

New Zealand Spilman 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:

Spilman Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. J. Spilman, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Norfolk" arriving in Wellington, North Island, New Zealand on 18th June 1880 [7]
  • Mrs. Spilman, British settler travelling from London with 5 family members aboard the ship "Norfolk" arriving in Wellington, North Island, New Zealand on 18th June 1880 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Spilman (post 1700) +

  • Jonathan Edwards Spilman (1812-1896), American lawyer, minister, and composer from Kentucky
  • William Harry Spilman (b. 1954), American retired Major League Baseball first baseman who played from 1978 to 1989
  • Louis Spilman, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1940 [8]
  • B. R. Spilman, American politician, Member of California State Assembly, 1858-59, 1867-69 [8]
  • Hendrik Spilman (1721-1784), Dutch painter and engraver


  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. ^ 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)
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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