Last name: Sparshett

This ancient and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from either of the places called Sparsholt, in Berkshire, near Wantage, and in Hampshire, near Winchester. The place in Berkshire is recorded in the Saxon Chartulary of 963 as "Spersholt(e)", as "Spersolt" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Speresholt" in the 1156 Pipe Rolls of the county; Sparsholt in Hampshire is "Speoresholt" in the Saxon Chartulary of 901, and "Spaersesholt" in the Saxon Diplomatic Codex of 1060 - 1066. Both placenames share the same meaning and derivation, which is "wood where (shafts for) spears were obtained", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "spere", spear, and "holt", wood. Locational surnames were acquired by the lord of the manor, and local landowners, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and who were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. Regional dialectal differences and varying standards of literacy subsequently gave rise to a number of variant forms of the original name; in this instance, these range from Sparsholt and Sparshott, to Sparshatt, Sparshett and Sparshutt. Recordings from Hampshire Church Registers include that of the marriage of John Sparshatt and Elizabeth Smith in Droxford, on June 4th 1669, and the christening of their daughter, Elizabeth, also in Droxford, on January 10th 1674. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter de Sparshete, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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