Wodderspoon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The forbears of the name Wodderspoon are thought to be of the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The name indicates that the first bearer lived in various places throughout Scotland. It may have been a habitation name from a now lost place name, thought to come from the Old English terms wether, which means "sheep," and "spong," or from spang, which means "a narrow strip of land." [1] Habitation names form a broad category of surnames that were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

Early Origins of the Wodderspoon family

The surname Wodderspoon was first found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Friù), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland.

The first record of the family was found c. 1290 when Roger Wythirspon, clerk, attested a grant by James the High Steward of lands in Renfrew. [1]

The family acquired business interests in Glasgow, and also were tenants of the Cupar Angus Abbey.

In 1496, a payment was thus noted: "Widderspune the foulare that tald talis and brocht foulis to the king." Later, John Wyddirspwn was tenant of Dalbeth in 1518 and a tenant of Cupar-Angus Abbey, c. 1500, was named Wychthirspone. [1]

Further to the south in England, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Adam Wytherpyn and Adam Wyerpin in Norfolk. Later in 1379, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls listed Johannes Withspone and Willelmus Wythspone. The reference The History of Norfolk notes John Wetherpyn was vicar of Thrickby, Norfolk in 1419. [2] Interestingly, the last author comments: "I can make nothing out of this surname, and leave it to the consideration of more enlightened students. I can furnish them with materials, but that is all. My Yorkshire references clearly represent some of its ancestors." [2] We can only presume that this learned gentleman had not considered Yorkshire's close proximity to Scotland and a presumable migration from there.

Early History of the Wodderspoon family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wodderspoon research. Another 130 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1548, 1521, 1546, 1547, 1643, 1646, 1722, 1794, 1768, 1850, 1921 and 1894 are included under the topic Early Wodderspoon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wodderspoon Spelling Variations

Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, Wodderspoon has been spelled Wotherspoon, Witherspoon, Weatherspoon, Wetherspoon and many more.

Early Notables of the Wodderspoon family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Wodderspoon family

Many settled along the east coast of what would become the United States and Canada. As the American War of Independence broke out, those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these hardy Dalriadan-Scottish settlers began to recover their collective history in the 20th century with the advent of the vibrant culture fostered by highland games and Clan societies in North America. Highland games, clan societies, and other organizations generated much renewed interest in Scottish heritage in the 20th century. The Wodderspoon were among the earliest of the Scottish settlers as immigration passenger lists have shown: Grizell Wotherspoon settled in East New Jersey in 1686; she also spelt her name Witherspoon; Elizabeth, Henry, James, John, Margaret Witherspoon, all arrived in New England in 1804.



The Wodderspoon 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: Deo juvante
Motto Translation: By God’s assistance.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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