This interesting and long-established surname is of early medieval English origin, and derives from the Middle English "spekeman", advocate, spokesman, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "specan", to speak, with "mann", man. The surname may have originated either as an occupational name for someone who habitually acted as a spokesman for the other members of a medieval community, or as a nickname for one who played the part of spokesman or announcer in a medieval pageant. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary, and nicknames were given with reference to personal characteristics, and to habits of dress and behaviour. Early examples of the surname include: Henry Spakeman, Isolda Spekeman and Richard Spekeman, recorded respectively in the Hundred Rolls of Kent and Oxford of 1275. In 1297, one William Spekeman was noted in the "Minister's Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall", and in 1578, John Speakman, of Astley, husbandman, was entered in the Wills Records held at Chester. The name is now variously spelt: Speakman, Spakeman and Spackman. On October 24th 1595, Alice Speakman and George Chorlton were married at Manchester, Lancashire, and on June 28th 1696, Gervas Speakman married a Sarah Shaw at St. Mary's, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nigel Spakeman, which was dated 1195, in the "Pipe Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "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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