This surname is sometimes mistakenly identified with the surname Spillar, however, it has its own most interesting derivation. It is in fact of Anglo-Saxon origin deriving from the old pre 7th Century English word 'spellian', meaning a 'reciter'. In a world without modern methods of communication, the 'reciter' was a man of some importance in providing entertainment and information. The surname Speller had already clearly emerged in its modern form by the early 13th Century (see below). Another record, somewhat different in form and showing French influence was for Gerard le Speller in the 'Parliamentary Rolls' for Essex (1301). Variant spellings of the name were to include Spelar. One, Frances Spillar is recorded as marrying Henry Buckhurst on December 23rd 1651 at St. Martins in the Field, London. Ann, daughter of Ann and John Speller was christened at St. Bartholomew's, London, on November 30th 1751. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Speller, which was dated 1202, 'Assize Rolls of Lincolnshire', 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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