Spalding Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Spalding Meaning
Spalding is a place name in the fens of south Lincolnshire, derived originally
from the Spalding
tribe who lived there.  Spalding appeared as a place name as
Spallinge in the Domesday book of 1086 and Spaldingis in the
Lincolnshire survey of 1115 and as a surname as Spalding in 1273.
The surnames
Spalding and Spaulding
are both to be found in
Spauldings there outnumber Spaldings by roughly two to one.

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Spalding Ancestry

The first referenced Spalding individual was a Ralph de Spalding who
was granted a property deed in 1273.  The wool merchant William de
Spalding was elected to Parliament in 1327.   Peter Spalding
was recorded at the border town of Berwick in 1318.

The Spalding name spread to Norfolk and Suffolk and larger numbers were
recorded there than in Lincolnshire.  Spalding was
already cropping up in Suffolk villages near Bury St. Edmonds and
Framlingham in Elizabethan times.  By the early 1600’s the name
was also to be found in London and further north in the town of York.

There was a Spalding clan in Scotland, taking its name from the
Lincolnshire village of Spalding. The first of this clan was the Peter
Spalding who helped the Scottish supporters of
Robert the Bruce take Berwick in 1318.  As
a reward, he was granted lands in Forfarshire (now Angus).

Prominent in later generations were the Spaldings of Ashintully in Perthshire.  However, in the 1700’s this family followed the Jacobite cause, lost their lands, and dispersed. Some of these Spaldings ended up in Georgia and Jamaica. Others had earlier departed for Sweden and Pomerania in Germany.  Andrew Spalding departed with his family to Michigan in 1843; and, forty years later, William Spalding left for Australia.

The first Spalding in America was an Edward Spalding from
Lincolnshire who arrived at
the Jamestown colony in 1619.  He survived the Indian uprising
there but later sailed for New England where he became the progenitor
of a large New England Spalding family:

  • one line went via Samuel
    Brown Spalding, a merchant in Vermont, to his son Samuel Gray Spaulding
    who headed West to start a tobacco manufacturing business in Chicago.
  • another line established itself in Pennsylvania where Simon and
    his son Harry distinguished themselves in the Revolutionary War and
    later led to Albert
    Goodwill Spalding,
    the well-known sporting personality.

Judge Charles Warren
Spalding’s 1897 book The Spalding
has traced the various descendants of the Spalding

Another Spalding line began with Thomas Spalding from Suffolk who was
brought to Maryland as a young man by his cousin in 1657.  His
descendants lived in Beaverdam Manor in St. Mary’s county.  After
Revolutionary War Thomas Spalding and his family migrated west to
Kentucky.  He was Catholic and the Catholic
Spaldings, Martin the Archbishop of Baltimore and his nephew John a
co-founder of the Catholic University of America, came from this

The Scots Spalding connection in America began in 1760 when James
Spalding came
over to the new colony of
Georgia and set up a trading post.  He had
an eventful Revolutionary War.

“When war broke out he was jailed for a
week by the patriots who made him pay a large sum of money to let him
go and promise not to return to Georgia.  He fled to St. Augustine
in Florida but returned to Georgia once the British retook Savannah.”

His son Thomas who settled on Sapelo island operated large cotton
plantations there and was active in Georgia local politics between 1800
1850.  However, his line died out in the latter part of the 19th

Then there were the Presbyterian missionaries, Henry
Spalding and his wife Eliza from upstate New York. They were
among the first Americans to travel the great plains and along the
Oregon Trail.  They worked with the Nez Perce Indians in
what is now the state of Idaho.


Spalding Miscellany

Spalding Origins.  The Lincolnshire village of Spalding on the fens of East Anglia was
founded at the point where a road ran over the low country to the
Wash.  The name appeared in Anglo-Saxon records as early as the
8th century, the first written record of Spalding being in a charter
issued in 716 by King Athelbald to the monks of Crowland Abbey.

In Latin, Spall or Spald means “shoulder” and the town of Spalding
meant literally “the tribe who live at the shoulder (of marsh
land).”  Spalding was one of the Saxon divisions of Lincolnshire
known as “the Spalda,” the Saxon suffix “ing” denoting sons of a family
or tribe, and the people who lived in Spalding were known as the
“Spaldingas” or the Spalding tribe.  This tribe was believed to
have come from Flanders and to have held land in south Holland as early
as the 7th century.

Spalding in medieval times was a market centre with two important
industries, salt making and fisheries. Today it is known for its tulips
and sausages.

Spaldings in York.  There was a family of Spaldings who were made freemen of York in the 17th century.  Their records show that they were a family of carpenters:

1633 Henry Spalding, carpenter
1662 Mathew Spaldinge, carpenter, son
of Henry Spaldinge
1672 Henry Spawlden, son of Henry
Spalden, carpenter
1689 Marcus Spaldinge, carpenter, son
of Mathew Spalton, carpenter
1702 Mathew Spalding, son of Mathew
Spalding, carpenter

Spaldings of Ashintully.  The Spaldings built Ashintully Castle near Blairgowrie in Perthshire in 1583 where they remained for the next hundred and fifty years.

Some of these Spaldings had a reputation for cruelty.  David
Spalding, it was said, “condemned and executed many most unrighteously,
particularly a man of the name of Duncan who was drowned in a sack in
what is still called Duncan’s pool.”  A ghost which haunts the
grounds is said to be that of a misshapen servant, known as “Crooked
Dave” who was murdered by one of the Spaldings.  Another ghost is
that of a tinker, hanged for trespassing on the grounds.  He
cursed the family, warning that their line would soon come to an end.

The curse was made in the early 1700’s and soon came to pass.

Spaldings and Spaulding.  The spelling was Spalding in England and Scotland; and mainly Spalding
for immigrants to America.  But once there Spaldings tended to add
a “u” to their name.  The following is the approximate current
distribution of
the Spalding and Spaulding names.

Numbers (000’s) Spalding Spaulding
UK   3.7   –
America   3.2   6.4

According to some family records, the shift from Spalding to Spaulding (where it occurred) started sometime after the Civil War.

Edward Spalding in Virginia and Massachusetts.  In the spring of 1619 Edward Spalding boarded a
ship in London that sailed for the Jamestown colony in Virginia.
He had signed himself on as an indentured servant to pay for the cost
of his voyage.  When he arrived there, it was recorded that he
elected to obtain a wife from a selection of women who were described
as “agreeable persons, young and incorrupt.”  Apparently the union
was successful for in 1623 it was further recorded in the Virginia Colonist Record in a “List
of the Living” that Edward Spalding with wife, son and daughter were
living in the Jamestown colony.

Life in Jamestown was
not idyllic.  In 1622 an Indian uprising resulted in the death of
over 300 colonists and disease was still taking an enormous toil on the
population.  One contemporary commentary on Edward Spalding stated
that he finally departed Jamestown “after losing two young
families.”  Whether or not this is true cannot be confirmed.
However, it does appear that when he relocated to Massachusetts
sometime in the late 1620’s he did so without children and possibly
without a wife.  No doubt conditions in Jamestown were too much
for him to bear.  By 1627 he had completed the terms of his
indentureship and he must have concluded that there were better
opportunities in Massachusetts.

By 1630 his name
first appeared in the Braintree public records in Massachusetts and
three years later it was recorded that a son was born to Edward and his
wife Margaret.  Three other children followed.  In 1645 he
and nineteen other petitioners were granted land to establish the town
of Chelmsford.  He lived there until his death in 1670.

Albert G. Spalding and the Invention of Baseball.  At the turn of the century, few people were agreed on precisely how
baseball had come to be.  In 1907 the sporting-goods tycoon Albert
G. Spalding, formerly a major league pitching star, appointed a
committee to investigate the game’s early history and settle once and
for all where, when, and how baseball had originated.  Spalding’s
unfounded belief was that baseball was a purely American phenomenon.

Most of the committee members quickly lost interest in the study and by
year-end its chairman, former National League president A. G. Mills,
was left working by himself.  Early in 1908 he submitted his
findings to Spalding.  It was then that the Doubleday myth
arose.  Doubleday, Mills wrote, invented baseball, diagramed and
laid out the first diamond, and supervised the first games in
Cooperstown, New York in 1839.  He was an instructor at a local
military academy and the first players of the game were his

Spalding liked the report for it meshed with his own notions of
baseball’s fundamental Americanness.  But little in it had any
basis in fact.  No one – neither Spalding, nor baseball historian
Henry Chadwick, nor anyone else – had ever heard of Doubleday.

Doubleday, a prolific writer of magazine articles in the years
following the Civil War, had never penned a single word about the game
he supposedly invented, nor could Mills attribute a single quoted
remark about baseball to Doubleday.  Significantly, Mills and
Doubleday had been classmates at West Point and it is not unlikely that
Mills used his report simply to honor his friend.



Select Spalding Names

  • John Spalding of Aberdeen was the
    author of a famous historical work, Memorials
    of the Troubles in Scotland and England from 1625 to 1642
    . The antiquarian society the Spalding Club was founded and named in his honor.
  • Albert Goodwill Spalding from Illinois was a 19th century baseball player and subsequently a well-known sporting personality and sporting goods manufacturer.

Select Spalding Numbers Today

  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Pembrokeshire)
  • 9,000 in America (most numerous
    in Kentucky)
  • 3,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia).


Select Spalding and Like Surnames

Many surnames have come from East Anglia (Norfolk and Suffolk) and surrounding areas in eastern England.  These are some of the noteworthy surnames that you can check out.




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