This interesting name derives from the Olde Gaelic Mac Giolla Easpuig which translates as 'the son of the servant or follower of the bishop' - from the elements 'mac' (a son), 'giolla' (a servant) and 'easpag' (a bishop). In its anglicized forms the name appears as (Mac) Gillespie and (Mac) Anespie. Glas(h)by and Clusby are alternatives in Co.Louth and the form Glaspey was used by one family in Co.Mayo in a place called Westport. Almost all the Gillespies were Ulstermen and are recorded in county and diocesan histories there, and also in Petty's 'census'.The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mac Giolla Epscoip. which was dated C.1199 - Chief of the Barony of Iveragh, Co.Down. during the reign of Richard 1, Richard the Lionheart 1189-1199. 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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