Here are some short summaries of how the Spurretts came to be in certain places. If you wish to know more, please do not hesitate to contact me. So far, this includes the following places:
- Siddington and the Lambourn Downs
- Banbury, Oxfordshire
- Faringdon, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire)
- Hexham, Northumberland
- Bampton, Oxfordshire
- Aston, Oxfordshire
And there are references to other countries such as Australia and South Africa within those sections. Just click on the links to see more.
Aside from sporadic mentions of medieval Spurretts, the furthest back that Spurretts can be traced is to William SPORRETT of Woodhouse, near Burnsall in Wharfedale, who died in 1574. It is thought that William had a brother Thomas in nearby Pateley Bridge.
William had a smallholding but it was insufficient to maintain his family of five sons and one daughter. The eldest son remained in Burnsall leading to seven generations of Spurretts but the rest gradually migrated to Ripon, Easingwold, and Skipton in Yorkshire and, in the case of Anthonie, much further to the South. Anthonie’s incredible journey to Cambridge University, and then Worcester and Stow-on-the-Wold is described here. William’s brother Thomas had children that move further south in Yorkshire to Bardsley and from there onto Cowthorpe and Leeds. There remain living SPURRETTs in this area who are descended from this branch.
The marriage of John SPURRIT in 1742 in Cowthorpe was recorded as John SPEARRITT and all of his descendants took the name SPEARRITT. This modification of the name has survived to this day and there are living descendants of this branch in Liverpool and Manchester, as well Australia following the emigration of James SPEARRITT, born in 1827.
As described elsewhere, Anthonie SPURRETT came to the Stow-on-the-Wold area and was vicar at two churches until his death in 1616. He had at least three sons and also cared for Robert SPURRETT who may have been a fourth son, or the son of his brother Henry who spent periods of his life in the south with Anthonie. Anthonie’s son George was born in 1581 and went to Merton College, Oxford and eventually became a vicar at Siddington in Gloucestershire, leading to many further generations of SPURRETTs.
The children of Robert SPURRETT seem to have been very mobile, spreading in all directions to create new branches of SPURRETTs in the villages and towns surrounding Stow: Burford, Aston Magna, Hopscroft Holt, Blockley, Wyck Rissington, Bourton-on-the-Water, etc. I suspect Robert was a market trader of some sort – trading and dealing seems to be in the Spurrett genes. In addition, we see the first movement of SPURRETTs to London.
The Burford Spurretts, descended from the marriage of Anthony SPURRETT and Elizabeth TULL in 1628, eventually petered out but were in the town through all of the civil-war disturbances and until the mid-eighteenth century.
Siddington to the Lambourn Downs
George SPURRETT (1581-1658) had several daughters and one son Samuel who had descendants who remained in the Siddington / Cirencester area for a few generations. One of those descendants, Samuell SPURRETT, married Katherine HARRATT of Baydon in 1710, in the heart of the Lambourn Downs, and they set-up home there. This led to several generations of SPURRETTs in the surrounding villages such as Aldbourne, Ramsbury, East Garston, and then further west into Wantage and Marcham. Some of the families took the name SPIRRITT, which then further evolved into SPIRIT. (Care is required to distinguish which SPIRITs are related to the SPURRETTs). These families were largely smallholders with farms and land, largely rearing sheep for the near-by market towns of Farringdon and Wantage. However, not all of this branch were taken with the rural existence and at least two (Samson b.1711 and Shadrick b.1791) migrated to London.
As with many English families with a long heritage in the South of England, disparate generations were drawn to London. This has led to many ‘cells’ of London SPURRETTs being established over the last four hundred years but they are not necessarily related directly related to each other, except through distant relations from outside of the capital. It seems that within each ‘cell’ there are examples of successful people and also destitution. We have records of paupers being ‘removed’ to their place of origins as well as a trusted servant to the Earl of Burlington, who became a London Gent.
The first SPURRETT to venture to London was Nathaneol b.1582, son of Anthonie. This branch of the family was short-lived as his only daughter died of a fever (likely the plague) in 1635 in Brussels as a martyred Franciscan nun.
Samson b.1711 and Shadrick b.1791 were descended from the Spurretts of the Lambourn Downs and settled in St Marylebone and Westminster districts respectively. There are other ‘cells’ of Spurretts in Walworth and Westminster that I cannot yet be linked to the larger Spurrett tree with any certainty, but are most definitely related. There seem to be a mixture of professions including chandlers, bakers, and the usual traders including a ‘pedlar of bottle brushes’.
One of the larger groups of related Spurretts was just south of the Thames around Bermondsey, Southwark, and Newington. These are descended from George Spurrett born around 1790 and include two families who emigrated to Australia; one in the early 1800’s and one in the 1970’s. There are living Spurretts in London, Kent and Australia who are descended from this branch.
In addition to those who migrated to London, there are several Spurretts with occupational links to London that show up in the records. Several Victorian Spurrett girls from Aston, Oxfordshire were trained in the Aston Training School for domestic service and several of these became servants of London families at very young ages. The Showmen of Aston had the London fairs as part of their circuit, especially Wandsworth and Battersea.
The Banbury Spurretts are an amazing story of rags to riches in a small number of generations. William SPURRUT born around 1640 is thought to another descendant of Robert SPURRETT of Stow-on-the-Wold and had a smallholding in Epwell, near Banbury. Over the course of four generations they became significant players in the hey-day of Victorian Banbury becoming leading traders and politicians, two of which when on to become Town Majors. The then wealthy Spurretts of Banbury married into the wealthy PAGET family of Leicester and following a succession of female children, the name became extinct.
However, one branch of the Banbury Spurretts remained poor and were travellers (sojourners) from the Neithrop district of Banbury. They travelled around the Wooton and Woodstock area and had four sons there. The eldest son, Thomas b. 1752, became a traveller around the Faringdon, Uffington, Wantage area, occasionally being joined by the youngest son, Robert. Robert had two sons, Richard and Robert in 1781 and 1783, who went on to establish substantial branches of Spurretts in Bampton and Hexham, Northamptonshire.
Faringdon, Berks (now Oxon)
The Spurretts of the Lambourn Downs would have had some connection with Farringdon as it was a very important market town in the late eighteenth century. However, the Spurretts who inhabited the town in Victorian time were third-generation descendants of the traveller Thomas SPURRETT b.1752. By this time the name had been incrementally corrupted to SPIRET and some of the living SPIRITs in the area may well be descended from this branch. There certainly are SPIRETTs in Bagshot, Surrey that descend from Thomas Charles SPIRET and George SPIRETT who migrated from Faringdon in the late 1800’s.
The Hexham branch descends from Robert SPURRIT b.1783 who was in the militia and married a lady from Hexham, presumably who he met on his tours of duty around the country. They had eight children who used various combinations of the spelling of the name, including SPIRIT, SPARRIT, SPURRET, SPURIT – and probably a few more that I missed. I suspect they were illiterate and were relying upon the phonetic interpretation of the name by different registrars. There are still living SPIRITs in Hexham that descend from this branch.
The Bampton Spurretts descend from Richard SPURRIT b.1781, brother of Robert SPURRIT of Hexham. Richard was a traveller and road mender who eventually settled in Bampton after winning a contract to maintain three bridges leading into Bampton. Richard’s eldest son followed his uncle into military service. His next eldest son, Thomas ran several businesses in Bampton during the nineteenth century including a shop, coal merchants, and public house. This established the Spurretts as a leading working-class family in Bampton. However, as the rural economy suffered following enclosures and the industrial revolution, life was not easy. Richard Spurrett b.1829, son of Thomas, headed to London and also north in search of work amongst the mills of Lancashire. The modern-day Spurretts in Ashton-under-Lyme, Dunkinfield, Kendal, Stockport and Manchester are descended from Richard.
Joseph Henry SPURRETT b.1839 (my great, great grandfather) was the son of Thomas SPURRETT of Bampton and took the village store on the green in nearby Aston, and ran it until his death in 1921. He had a large family who became a central part of Aston life during the twentieth century. His son Joe ran the Bull Inn Public house, George became a furniture dealer, and Bill was the one with the desire to travel. He set-up market stalls selling hardware and worked in conjunction with his brother Joe who sold confectionary. Eventually this expanded to include fairground rides and many other members of the family were involved to some extent. As this became a larger enterprise, the steam engine, Little Wonder, was bought to power the fairground rides. The fairground spirit remains alive and well in the family but has lost the Spurrett name having married into the Hatswell family of showmen. One branch of the Aston Spurretts emigrated to South Africa and there are still living Spurretts there; another went to London, and some remained local in the Oxfordshire villages and towns of Burford, Carterton, Didcot and East Hagbourne.