This interesting and unusual surname, with variant spellings Spreull, Sproul(s), Sprull(s), Sprowle(s) etc., recorded in Dumbartonshire, Scotland, from the late 13th Century is believed to derive from the old Gaelic "Spruill(e)" literally meaning "fragment" or "morsel", and used in a figurative sense to describe someone of small slight stature. Walter Spreul, (see below), obtained a charter of the lands of Dalguhen for homage and service paid to Robert 1, and in 1296 a Wautier Spreul of Lanarkshire rendered homage to John Balliol. His seal bears a hunting-horn, stringed, between three roses. Other early recordings include Walter Sproull who paid to the Exchequer the contribution of the Barony of Glasgow in 1336 and Thomas Sprowl, receiver of stores of Edinburgh Castle in 1368. On January 17th 1725 Esther, daughter of John Spreulls and Ester Welsh, was christened in Inveresk with Musselburgh, Midlothian. John Sprull and Anne Willis were married in St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London on September 5th 1729, and on February 2nd 1738 the marriage of Edward Sprules to Jane Davis took place in St. Lawrence, Pountney, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Spreul, steward of Malcolm, earl of Levenax, which was dated circa 1218 "Charter Records of the land of Dalmuir or Dalmore", during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. 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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