This very interesting name is of early medieval Anglo-Scottish origins. Introduced by the Norman French after the Invasion of England in 1066, it was a metonymic occupational surname for someone who was originally in charge of the pantry of a great house or monastery. The term derives from the pre 10th century Old French word "despense", from the Latin "dispendere", meaning to weigh out or dispense. In Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales", the glutton in the Sumner's Tale is described as being "all vinolent as botel in the spense". The modern surname can be found as Spence, Spencer, and the Scottish form Spens, Spenser and Despenser. In the Governor's lists of inhabitants of the colony of Virginia, New England, and compiled on February 16th 1623, one William Spence, his wife, and their child, are shown as living at James' Island, near "Elizabeth Cittee! A coat of arms depicting a black boar's head erased between two red bars on a silver shield, with the Motto "Patior ut Potiar" (I endure as I enjoy), was granted to a family of the name at Berryholl in Fife, Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon del Spens. This was dated 1300, in the Charters of Guisburn Priory, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.


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  • Spence — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Brad Spence (* 1984), kanadischer Skirennläufer Bruce Spence (* 1945), australischer Schauspieler Catherine Helen Spence (1825–1910), australische Schriftstellerin, Feministin und Sozialreformerin Daniel… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Spence — may refer to:* Spence, Australian Capital Territory, a suburb of Canberra, Australia * Spence, Ontario, a ghost town in Ontario, Canada * Allowance, or pocket money * Spence School, a day school for girls in New York City * Spence (surname),… …   Wikipedia

  • Spence — Spence, n. [OF. despense, F. d[ e]pense, buffet, buttery, fr. OF. despendre to spend, distribute, L. dispendere, dispensum. See {Dispense}, {Spend}.] 1. A place where provisions are kept; a buttery; a larder; a pantry. [1913 Webster] In . . . his …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Spence —   [spens],    1) [spens], A. Michael amerikanischer Volkswirtschaftler, * Montclair (New Jersey) 1943; Professor an der Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1984 90) und an der Stanford University, Palo Alto (1990 99); erhielt 2001… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Spence — Spence, Sir Basil (1907 76) a British ↑architect, who designed Coventry Cathedral …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • spence — [spens] n. [ME < ML spensa, aphetic for dispensa < L, fem. pp. of dispendere, to weigh out: see DISPENSE] Now Chiefly Dial. a larder or pantry: also sp. spense …   English World dictionary

  • Spence — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Spence est un nom de famille notamment porté par : Bruce Spence (né en 1945), acteur néo zélandais ; Debbie Spence (née en 1967), joueuse… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Spence — /spɛns/ (say spens) noun 1. Bruce, born 1945, Australian film, television and stage actor born in NZ; noted for films Stork (1971) and Mad Max II (1982). 2. Catherine Helen, 1825–1910, Australian writer and social reformer, born in Scotland;… …   Australian English dictionary

  • spence — noun Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo French espence, spence, from Medieval Latin expensa victuals, from Late Latin, outlay, compulsory supply of food more at expense Date: 14th century dialect chiefly British pantry …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • spence — /spens/, n. Brit. Dial. a pantry. [1350 1400; ME spense, spence < MF despense pantry < ML dispensa, n. use of fem. of dispensus, ptp. of dispendere to weigh out; see DISPENSE] * * * …   Universalium

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