This rare and interesting name has a number of distinct origins. Firstly, it may be a variant of the Anglo-Saxon occupational name for a reciter, a preacher or professional story-teller, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century "spellian", to tell, relate, in Middle English "spell(en)". Secondly, the name Spillard may be a variant form of Spiller, also of Anglo-Saxon origin, and an occupational name for a tumbler or jester, one who travelled with the medieval fairs or was attached to the Court or a nobleman's retinue. The derivation is from an agent derivative of the Middle English "spill(en)", to play, jest, sport, a development of the Old English "spilian". In some cases, the name may derive from a nickname for a wasteful, spendthrift person, from the Middle English "spill(en)", to spoil, from the Old English "spillan", to spoil waste, squander. One Gerard le Spiller is recorded in the Essex Parliamentary Rolls of 1301. Among the recordings of the surname in English Church Registers are the christening of Robert Spillard, at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London, on May 30th 1592; the christening of Agnes Spillarde, on August 1st 1596, at St. Sidwell's, Exeter, in Devonshire; and the christening of Robert Spillard, at St. Leonard's, Chichester, Essex, on March 9th 1633. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Speller, witness which was dated 1202, in the "Lancashire Assize Rolls", 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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