Show ContentsSpofford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Spofford date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Spofford family lived in the parish of Spofforth in Knaresborough in Yorkshire.

Early Origins of the Spofford family

The surname Spofford was first found in the West Riding of Yorkshire at Spoffarth, a parish, in the Upper division of the wapentake of Claro. "This place was the residence of the Percy family previously to their settlement at Alnwick, and possessed a formidable castle, their baronial seat, which was demolished by the Yorkists after the battle of Towton, in which the Earl of Northumberland, and his brother Sir Charles Percy, were slain. The remains consist chiefly of the grand hall, which, though a ruin, retains much of its ancient magnificence. The church is a spacious and handsome structure, partly in the Norman and early English styles, and contains a monument with a recumbent figure of a Knight Templar. " [1]

Listed as Spoford in the Domesday Book of 1086, by 1218 the parish was known as Spotford. Literally the place name means "ford by a small plot of ground," from the Old English words "spot" + "ford." [2]

Early History of the Spofford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Spofford research. Another 49 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1421 and 1448 are included under the topic Early Spofford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Spofford Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Spofford are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Spofford include: Spaford, Spafford, Spafforde, Spafforth and others.

Early Notables of the Spofford family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Spofford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Spofford migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Spofford or a variant listed above:

Spofford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Spofford, who settled in Massachusetts in 1638
  • Rev. John Spofford, (b. 1603), aged 35, British settler traveling aboard the ship "John of London" arriving in Boston, Massachuetts in 1638 [3]
  • John, Spofford Sr., who arrived in New England in 1643 [4]
Spofford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • S Spofford, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1860 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Spofford (post 1700) +

  • Charles Merville Spofford (b. 1902), American lawyer, former NATO representative for the United States
  • Edward "Ned" Spofford (b. 1931), American teacher of literature, former professor from Smith College at Stanford University who was accused, convicted and then had his conviction overturned for "possession of obscene photographs"
  • Daniel H. Spofford, American Christian Scientist who was accused of witchcraft through his "mesmeric" mental powers in the Salem witchcraft trial of 1878 also known as the second Salem witch trial
  • William Benjamin Spofford Jr. (b. 1921), American clergyman, 4th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon from 1969 to 1979
  • Henry Martyn Spofford (b. 1821), American jurist and politician, judge of the Louisiana Supreme Court, elected in 1877 to the United States Senate
  • Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spofford (b. 1835), American writer, best known for her novels, poems and detective stories
  • Ainsworth Rand Spofford (b. 1825), American journalist and publisher, 6th Librarian of the United States Congress from 1864 to 1897
  • Judson Spofford, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Huntington, West Virginia, 1881-84 [5]
  • Elmer P. Spofford, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Maine, 1904 [5]
  • Carl C. Spofford, American Republican politician, Delegate to New Hampshire State Constitutional Convention from Jaffrey, 1956; Member of New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Jaffrey; Elected 1956 [5]
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Bridie  Spofford (1895-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion (1917) [6]

The Spofford 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: Fidelis ad extremum
Motto Translation: Faithful to the extreme.

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's. Retrieved October 6th 2021 from
  4. 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)
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 11) . Retrieved from
  6. Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from on Facebook