This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a patronymic form of the surname Spear, which derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal byname "Spere", originally denoting either a tall, thin person, or one skilled in the use of the hunting spear. In part it may also have been a metonymic occupational name for a maker of spears. Early recordings of the surname from this source include: Walter Speare (Somerset, 1185), and Henry Spere (Lancashire, 1246). Nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and also to habits of dress and occupation. The Olde English suffix "ing", when attached to a personal name, means "sons, descendants" or "dependent men of". In the modern idiom the patronymic forms of the name appear as: Spiring, Spering, Sperring and Spearing. On December 18th 1552, Richard Spering, an infant, was christened in Whittington, Gloucestershire, and on September 8th 1677, Mary, daughter of Thomas Spearing, was christened in Evenlode, Gloucestershire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Spearing family is a silver shield with three pellets in fess between two red bars dancettee, the Crest being a ship under sail proper on a globe. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Spiryng or Spiring, which was dated October 31st 1539, marriage to Nicholas Bowerman, at Trull, Somerset, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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