This ancient Gaelic surname has the usual spelling of 'MacSporron', derives from 'Mac-an-sporain', translating loosely as 'The son of The purse'. The first name holder (as shown below) being it is said, the keeper of the purse (Treasurer) to King Malcom 11. Like all legends there is probably a basis of truth, which seems to be confirmed by original recordings relating to both royal and clan history. The name has developed many spelling forms over the ten centuries since its inception, these include McSpirron, McSporon, McSperrin, McSporrin, Mcasparan, MacSparran - the latter two being the usual Ulster (Irish) forms, and many more. The clan has been recorded in Ireland since the 16th century, but may have been there much longer. By tradition the MacSporron's are a branch of the MacDonalds of the Isles, and hereditary purse bearers to the clan. This occupation may account for the appointment of Paul an Sporan to the royal household, or vice versa. It is recorded that the tombs of Iona contain the bodies of Gilbrid and Paul Sporran, from the (quote) 'ancient tribes of the MacDonalds'. Examples of the early name recordings include those of Duncan M'Sparren who was one of M'Nachtanes soldiers who joined the Scottish Regiment of the king of France in 1627, and Donald M'Sporran of Auchnagairoch, parish of Knapdail in 1677. The clan were prominent in the 1745 invasion by Bonnie Prince Charlie, so much so that nameholders were 'forced' into taking the anglicized form of 'Pursell'. Clearly the enforcement did not work, but it may account for the growth in the wide variety of the name spellings. The Coat of Arms is shared with the MacDonalds of the Isles, and is a gold field, a black galley, charged with a red eagle displayed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Paul na Sporan, which was dated Circa 1015 a.d., treasurer to the royal house of Scotland, during the reign of King Malcom 11 of Scotland, reigned 1005 to 1034 a.d. 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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