This most unusual name is of Old Norse origin, dating from the 8th and 9th Century invasions and subsequent settlement of eastern and northern England by Scandinavian peoples. Sprackling derives from an Old Norse nickname or byname, "Sprakaleggr", adopted into Olde English as "Spracaling", and translated literally as "creaking legs"; the nickname was presumably originally given to someone who suffered from rheumatism or arthritis, or some other affliction that caused his joints to creak. A great many early surnames were created from the habitual use of nicknames, often given in the first instance with reference to a person's physical attributes or peculiarities, as here; similar nicknames surviving as modern surnames are Cruickshank(s), "crooked leg(s)", and Goosey, "goose-eye".The nickname is recorded as "Sprachelingus" in 1130, and "Sprakeling" in 1204, and is first recorded as a surname in the mid 12th Century, as below. Early recordings include Gervase Sprakeling, in the 1204 Pipe Rolls of Wiltshire, and Robert Esprakelin, circa 1270, in the Book of Fees, Cornwall. The Coat of Arms granted to a Sprackling family of Kent depicts, on a black shield, a saltire ermine between four leopards' faces, gold. The Crest is a wolf's head erased, black, tufted, armed, and ducally gorged gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Unspac Spracheling, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 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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