This interesting name is a Medieval English occupational surname for a seller or dealer in spices, or an apothecary or druggist. The Middle English term was "spicer" or "spicier", derived from the Old French "espicier" or "especier", ultimately derived from the Latin "Speciarius" an agent derivative from "species" meaning spices, groceries, or merchandise in general. The original meaning of "species" was thus "of various kinds", as can be seen by the following line from Langland's "Piers Plowman" of c.1370."Spycers speken with hym". Seven people named "Spicer" were early emigrants to the New World during the 17th Century, including one "Edward Spicer", who embarked from London on the "David" in September 1685, bound for Virginia. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Espicier, which was dated 1184, The Pipe Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King Richard I, 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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