Origin of the Name Spear
family history was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives.
Over the centuries Surnames developed a wide number of variants. Different spellings of the same name can be traced back to an original root. Additionally when a bearer of a name emigrated it was not uncommon that their original name would be incorrectly transcribed in the record books at their new location. Surnames were also often altered over the years based on how they sounded phonetically and depending on the prevailing political conditions it may have been advantageous to change a name from one language to another.
Variants of the name Spear
include Spyer, Speer, Spier, Spearman, Spire and Spiers. This is an occupational name meaning 'the spier', from a person who made their living as a watchman, or from a person who wielded a spear in battle, a spearman. This name is of English descent and is found in many ancient manuscripts in that country. Examples of such are a Robertus Spyer who was recorded in the 'Poll Tax' of the West Riding of Yorkshire in the year 1379. A Richard Spyre was registered in the University of Oxford in the year 1515.
Names were recorded in these ancient documents to make it easier for their overlords to collect taxes and to keep records of the population at any given time. When the overlords acquired land by either force or gifts from their rulers, they created charters of ownership for themselves and their vassals. It was by creating, maintaining and updating these reference books that they were able to maintain their authority and enforce laws.
In Ireland this name and its variants were introduced into Ulster Province by settlers who arrived from England and Scotland, especially during the seventeenth century. It was the 'Plantations of Ireland' in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that marked the end of Gaelic supremacy in Ireland. While the influx of settlers in the wake of the earlier Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century resulted in a full integration into Irish society of the new arrivals, the same never occurred with the Ulster Planters who maintained their own distinct identity.
The Spear coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all Spear descendants.