This very unusual surname is today accepted as Scottish, but its origins clearly lie on the continent. Many attempts have been made to find the original source, none wholly successful, and therefore it has to be assumed that the arrival of the name in Scotland was probably under forced circumstances, such as shipwreck. In this sort of situation, it is unlikely that any surviving members of the crew could read or write, assuming that the period was, judging by the first recording, early 17th century. Our opinion is that the derivation is probably from the popular Germanic-Dutch name "Spautz" originally a nickname for a small, cheeky, person - a sparrow. However other opinion is that the derivation is from "spauar" a word which described a maker of horse tack, particularly bridles and spurrs. Today in the 20th century the surname is relatively popular in the Fife region of Scotland, this situation giving some further credence to the "shipwreck" theory. Examples of the name recording include William Pourit, a witness at Torryburn on september 23rd 1716, and Agnes Spoward also of Torryburn on May 28th 1752. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Spowart, which was dated June 14th 1614, a witness at Kirkclady Church, Fife, during the reign of King James V1 of Scotland and 1st of England, 1587 - 1625. 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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