Found in a wide range of variants, such as Splevin, Spelvins, Splaven and Spelving, although never common in any form, the origin is Olde English, and can loosely be described as job-descriptive. It derives from "spellian", a word for a preacher, storyteller, or most likely a messenger who acted as a verbal "news-paper", passing on information. It is also possible that some nameholders derive from a place called Splaynes Green in Sussex, the meaning of which is believed to be "travellers green". The development of the modern spelling is from the 14th Century "Spelyng" (see below), to the 16th Century Spelling, to Spillan found in Colchester, Essex in 1642, to the 18th Century forms which first appears in London towards the end of that century. The registers include: James Splevings, a christening witness at St. Luke's, Old Street, Finsbury, on June 23rd 1796, whilst Anne Splevins married Thomas Cullip at Yelling, Huntingdonshire, on October 1st 1871. Earlier, John Splavens was recorded at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, on November 21st 1802. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edward Spelyng, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1327 - 1377. 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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