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Spilman Coat of Arms



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A Coat of Arms belonged to an individual, not a family.  Here are two diagrams of Spilman Coats of Arms that claim to be from Spilmans of Essex, England.  We cannot directly trace our family to the owner, but we know he/they were Spilmans in our area of England.

BLAZON OF ARMS: Sable, a plate between two flaunches argent.

Translation:  Sable (black) signifies Constancy.  Argent (white) denotes Loyalty and Truth

CREST:   A hand issuing from a cloud in pale, holding a garland of laurel proper.




Black and White colors

Pronunciation: 'spE(&)l
Function: verb
Etymology: German spielen to play, from Old High German spilOn; akin to Old English spilian to revel
intransitive senses
1 : to play music
2 : to talk volubly or extravagantly
transitive senses : to utter, express, or describe volubly or extravagantly
- spiel·er  /'spE-l&r/ noun

From the book Spelman Genealogy, by Fannie Cooley Williams Barbour:

The Spelman Arms are blazoned: Sable, ten plates between two flanches argent.

Crest: A woodman.
    Motto: Homo bulla.

This Coat-Armor was anciently emblazoned in several churches of the Spelmans' worship, and in Spelman homes. From some of these it has disappeared, but it may still be seen in others, to which reference will be made as they are mentioned in this chronicle of the English Spelmans.

In Warner's History of Hampshire the author says: "Over one of the south windows of Brokenhurst Church I remarked an ancient Coat-of-Arms, which, I apprehend, is that of the Spelman family."

The exact date of Sir William Espileman's death is unknown, but it was in 1167, or earlier, as in that year his son, William, held Brokenhurst and Cowsfield. (Hoare's History of Wiltshire, Volume V, Page 74.)

The origin of the name Spelman is unknown, although it does not appear to have been derived from a place. Among the variants of the past and in present usage are: Spelman, Spellman, Espileman, Spileman, Spilman, Spylman.

In the Twelfth Century—soon after the year 1160—an offering was made to Missenden Abbey, in Buckinghamshire, by William Martel, who bestowed upon the Abbey the rent, amounting to forty shillings, of lands in Snapes and Aldsburgh, County Suffolk. The donor stated that he had also given the Monks of Missenden "all the land which Turstan Francigena held, and which, when he died, I gave to Spileman, 'famulo meo.'" This grant is preserved in the British Museum, Harl. MSS., fo. 161. The "famulo meo" indicated that Spileman bore service to William Martel, a service which, it is reasonable to suppose, was an honorable one, since it was so well rewarded.


THE SURNAME SPILMAN:  The English surname Spilman and its variants Spillman, Spelman, and Spellman can be traced back to the Old English word "spell" or "Spellian" meaning "to speak" or "Discourse".  The original bearer of the surname would thus have been a preacher by occupation, or perhaps a professional storyteller or a well-loved village character who entertained his neighbours, young and old, with legends and fairy tales.  The surname is documented in England as early as the thirteenth century when one John Speleman is recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Nottingham in the year 1273.  Once Gerard le Speller is noted in the "Rotuli Parliamentorum" of Essex in 1301 while in the Subsity Rolls of the same country in 1327 appears the name of one John Speleman.

However the surname Spilman may derive from and is often confused with the medieval occupational name Spileman.  In the Curia Regis Rolls of 1221 we note one William Speleman who also appears as William Spileman in subsequent references.  This name is derived from the Old English "spilemann" meaning a "juggler", "conjuror" or "jester"; the bearer of the surname may thus have been one who performed feats of dexterity and slight of hand for his living.   Spileman was occasionally used as a personal name, and thus signify "son of Spileman".  In the records of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmonds in 1095 we note a reference to one Goduine filius Spilemanni, a Latin entry concerning Godwin son of Spilman.