Recorded in a number of spellings including Spreull, Sproul, Sproull, Sproule, the genitive Sprouls, Sprulls, Sprowles, meaning ‘son of Sproul’, this is an early Scottish surname. It is a nickname deriving from the pre 7th century Gaelic word ‘spruille’ meaning something small, a morsel or fragment, but used in a figurative sense to describe a person of slight stature! However being a nickname could also have the opposite meaning and describe a very large person. The latter seems a more reasonable explanation as the name holders held status positions in Dunbartonshire from the early 13th century. Examples include Wautier Spreull, who held by charter the lands of Dalguen, granted by John Bailiol in circa 1303. The Spreull coat of arms is said to have the blazon of a hunting horn suspended between three roses. Another high flyer was Thomas Sprowl, the receiver of stores at Edinburgh Castle in 1368, a very high position of trust. Other recordings include Walter Sproull who held the barony of Glasgow about the same time. Examples of recordings taken from surviving church registers include John Spreulls, whose daughter Esther, was christened at Inveresk with Musselburgh, Midlothian, Scotland, in 1725, whilst far away in England John Sproule and Anne Willis were married at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, London, in 1729. The first surviving recording is believed to be that of Walter Spreul. He was the Steward of Malcolm, earl of Levenax in 1218, during the reign of King Alexander 11nd of Scotland, 1214 – 1249.
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