Of both Olde English pre 7th century and later Anglo-Saxon pre 9th Century origins, this very interesting surname is today found equally in England and Germany. It is in its many forms, see below, either job descriptive for a Spearman or possibly a maker of spears, or it is a descriptive nickname for a tall, thin person, one who resembled a spear! The original English spelling was 'spere', and the various modern surnames include Spear, Speare, Speer, Speir, Spier and all their plural spellings, such as Spears, Speares, etc, indicating a patronymic 'son of Spere'.It is possible that the two spellings of Speir and Spier may be an 'overlap' and as such a derivative of the French 'espier', describing a watchman who probably carried a spear. The early recordings taken from the medieval charters and rolls include Henry Spere in Lancashire in the year 1246, Robertus Spyer in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire, and Annes Speere, christened at St. Giles Cripplegate, London, on March 1st 1591. Amongst the earliest recordings of passengers to the New England colonies of the West Indies and America, was Elizabeth Speere, aged 20, who embarked from London on May 21st 1635 on the ship 'Mathew'. The coat of arms has the unusual blazon of a silver field, a thistle with three heads, stalked and leaved in green, with a red flower. The crest is a dolphin haurient. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Speare, which was dated 1185, in the pipe rolls of the county of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The church builder', 1154 - 1189. 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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