Last name: Spering
This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a patronymic form of the surname Spear, which derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal byname "Spere", originally denoting either a tall, thin person, or one skilled in the use of the hunting spear. In part it may also have been a metonymic occupational name for a maker of spears. Early recordings of the surname from this source include: Walter Speare (Somerset, 1185), and Henry Spere (Lancashire, 1246). Nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and also to habits of dress and occupation. The Olde English suffix "ing", when attached to a personal name, means "sons, descendants" or "dependent men of". In the modern idiom the patronymic forms of the name appear as: Spiring, Spering, Sperring and Spearing. On December 18th 1552, Richard Spering, an infant, was christened in Whittington, Gloucestershire, and on September 8th 1677, Mary, daughter of Thomas Spearing, was christened in Evenlode, Gloucestershire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Spearing family is a silver shield with three pellets in fess between two red bars dancettee, the Crest being a ship under sail proper on a globe. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Spiryng or Spiring, which was dated October 31st 1539, marriage to Nicholas Bowerman, at Trull, Somerset, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research www.surnamedb.com 1980 - 2014
It may be that for some bearers of this name, it was an anglicised version of Spierinck or Sperynge. Examples include Nicholas Spierink/Sperynge who was one of the first 3 printers of the Cambridge Universtity Press in 1534. He would have arrived in the UK from Flanders (southern Hlland/Belgium/Northern Germany).
Nicholas came from a large family "with a disconcertingly limited choice of Christian names". He was primarily a bookbinder and a bookseller, and his family had numerous connections in the book trade. His father was Claes, and the family came from a village called Zwijndrecht on the Scheldt near Antwerp. However, with such a widely distributed family, it is possible that another member of the family was the progenitor of the subsequent London Spering's (see below) and not Nicholas.
Nicholas left the Netherlands prior to 1500 and went first to Lille France and then to Cambridge England about 1501. He was an archer in King Henry's court.
He first appears in the records of Cambridge University in 1505-06. In 1505, Nicholas leased a tenement beside King's College (see below footnotes). He probably lived in (what is now) Kings Parade (then the High Street), but over the years also leased properties elsewhere.