The surname of SPRAKE was a baptismal name 'the son of Sparrowhawk'. An ancient, although now forgotten personal name. The name has many variant spellings which include Sparke, Sprake, Sprague, Spragg and Spark. Early records of the name mention Sparheuk Sutor, 1273 County Lincoln. Thomas Sperheuk, County Lincolnshire, ibid. Magota Spark of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. Later instances of the name mention Richard Sparhawke who was rector of Fincham, in County Norfolk in 1534. Thomas Sparrowhawke married Susannah Hampton, St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1777. The name is also spelt Sparkes, Spark and Sparks. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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