Spalding


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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 America.  Spauldings there outnumber Spaldings by roughly two to one.

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England.  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.  

Scotland.  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.

America.  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 Memorial has traced the various descendants of the Spalding family. 

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 the 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 family.

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 and 1850.  However, his line died out in the latter part of the 19th century.

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.   

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If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:


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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.

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



PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 500 surnames.

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