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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Sprayberry family come from? What is the English Sprayberry family crest and coat of arms? When did the Sprayberry family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Sprayberry family history?

The birthplace of the surname Sprayberry is Cornwall, a rugged peninsula in southwestern England that is noted for its strong Gaelic traditions. Even though the usage of surnames was common during the Middle Ages, all English people were known only by a single name in early times. The process by which hereditary surnames came to be used is intriguing. As the number of inhabitants of Europe swelled, people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify them. Under the Feudal System of government, surnames evolved and they often reflected life on the manor and in the field. Although nickname surnames were rare among the Cornish, they did occasionally adopt names that reflected the physical characteristics or other attributes of the original bearer of the name. The name Sprayberry is a nickname type of surname for a person who is lively and alert. Tracing the origin of the name further, we found the name Sprayberry was originally from the Old English word spray, of the same meaning.

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Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Spry, Spray, Spre, Spraye, Sprye, Sprey, Sprie and many more.

First found in Cornwall, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, as Lords of the manor of Spryton, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sprayberry research. Another 243 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1485, 1627, 1612, 1685, 1660 and 1663 are included under the topic Early Sprayberry History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 77 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sprayberry Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Study of Passenger and Immigration lists has revealed that among early immigrants bearing the Sprayberry surname were: William Spry who settled in Virginia in 1648; Oliver Sprye settled in Virginia in 1639; Francis Spry settled in North Carolina in 1701. In Newfoundland, John Spry was a Surgeon of St. John's in 1753.

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  • Ellery Sprayberry (b. 2000), American child actress
  • Lieutenant Colonel James Michael "Mike" Sprayberry (b. 1947), American Army officer and a recipient of the Medal of Honor


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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: Soyez sage et simple
Motto Translation: Be wise and simple.

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  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  5. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  11. ...

The Sprayberry Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Sprayberry Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 19 November 2013 at 21:10.

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