Origin of the Name Spence
The ancient history of the name Spence
was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives. Spence is an occupational name meaning 'a house steward', from a servant of a great house. Variants include Spencer, Spens, Spenser, Despenser, Spender and Spenster. This name is of Anglo-Celtic origin and is found throughout England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It is found in many mediaeval manuscripts in these countries. Examples of such are a John le Spenser, of Southhampton, who was recorded in the 'Hundred Rolls', England, in the year 1273. A Thomas Spenser was recorded in the 'Poll Tax' of the West Riding of Yorkshire in the year 1379. Spens was the name of a great Scottish family who are descended from the Earls of Fife. They became known as Von Boden, and were granted the title Reichsfreiherr of the Kingdom of Bohemia in the year 1781. The great Spencer family descend from William the Conqueror's Steward, Robert Despencer, and later they became prosperous from sheep farming in Northants.
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.
Some bearers of this name in Ireland are originally of the Scottish clan MacDuff.
The Spence 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 Spence descendants.