This unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and is an example of the common medieval practice of creating a surname from the habitual use of a nickname. In this case the nickname was used of someone who was tall, thin and bony, from the Middle English word "sprigge", meaning "twig" or "branch". In Lonsdale, Lancashire, there is a dialect word, "sprig" meaning "a small, slender person". It is first recorded as a vocabulary word in England in the 15th Century and is thought to be of Old Norse or Germanic origin. The form "Spriggs" is the patronymic, meaning "son of Sprigg". Among recordings of the name in church registers are those of the christening of William, son of Jonathan Spriggs, at St. Mary's, Castlegate, York, on September 5th 1675, and, in London, of the marraige of Thomas Spriggs and Ann Forty at Lincolns Inn Chapel on December 30th 1726. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Sprig, which was dated 1199, The Norfolk Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "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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