This interesting surname with variant spelling Sparke, Sparks and Spark originated from the Old Norse medieval nickname "Sparkr", meaning "Sprightly", "Vivacious", given to a particularly bright, lively person. Viking names were much appreciated by the Normans thus the name was introduced by them and became popular after the 1066 invasion. The surname first appears in written records in the early 13th Century, (see below). The names development includes one Ralph Sparke who was recorded in 1221, in the Abbey of Ely Rolls, and a John Sparkes, listed in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire in 1301. The "-s" at the end of the surname signifys "son of", hence son of "Sparke". One Phenisse Sparkes was christened at St. Mary-at-hill, London on July 17th 1557, while Elzabett, daughter of Thomas Sparkes was christened on September 25th 1642, at St. Bride, Fleet Street, in London. John Sayer married Elizabeth Sparke on November 29th 1683, at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London. Joseph Sparkes (1683-1740), was educated at St. John's College Cambridge in 1704, and edited "Historariae Anglicane Scriptores. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Sperc, which was dated 1202, Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King John known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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