This interesting surname with variant spelling Speirs, is a patronymic form of Spier or Spear. The former being an official title for a watchman deriving from the Medieval English "espien" or the Old French "espier" meaning to watch or observe. It may also have been a nickname for a particularly observant person. The latter deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "spere" a spear, and was used as a nickname for a tall, thin person, or else for a skilled user of the hunting spear. Another possibility is that it was a metonymic occupational name for a maker of spears. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century, (see below). One William le Spiour is recorded in the 1302, "Accounts of the Chamberlains of the county of Chester" and a Robert Spyer in the 1379, "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire". On December 6th 1620, the marriage of Jonas Spiers to Elizabeth Burch took place at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, and their son John, was christened in the same place on August 27th 1621. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Willelmus Sper, witness in Perth, which was dated circa 1232, Records of the Holy Trinity Monastery at Scon., during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. 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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