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About the study

The Spurle One-Name Study started about 10 years ago when, looking for my 4 x Great-Grandfathers parents I hit a brick wall. Given that I found it near impossible to find them due to my 4 x Great Grandfather Samuels (c1806-1835) death, at the age of 29, before the first useful census of 1841 I decided to embark on the lengthy process of jotting down every occurrence of SPURLE's firstly in the South West, where, most of my family are situated and then expanded to include every occurrence of the SPURLE surname wherever they may be. So, given the facts above I decided to register the name with the Guild of One-Name Studies in January 2016.

Having read the "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" published by the Society I see that I have much work to do to publish and present my study properly. Since registering I have found a link for my family back to 1556, Alexander SPURLE born in Somerset. However, this is still to be backed up with hard evidence which I intend to do this year, 2018.

Variant names

The registered variants of the name are Spurdle, Spurrel and Spurrell.

Name origin

At present I do not know the origin of the Surname, but, have found that it could mean "Little Sparrow" although this has not been confirmed. Most of my ancestors are collected around Devon, Dorset and Somerset although I have found a family enclave around Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Historical occurrences of the name

At present the only Spurle to have had any historical influence is my Grandfather:

  • Charles Deane SPURLE (1895-1965), who served in the Royal Marine Artillery on HMS New Zealand during WWI and was notably involved in the Battle at Dogger Bank, where he received war bounty, for the sinking of SMS Blücher and the Battle of Jutland, where he hurt his back whilst falling down a steel ladder in the forward gun emplacement. During WWII he served in the GPO keeping communications open in the Southampton and Portsmouth area.

Name frequency

In the 1881 Census the surname SPURLE was the 451,396nd most common surname in England with approximately 54 people bearing the surname. The SPURLE surname is most prevalent in Devon with 19 occurrences, frequency 1: 32,017, followed by Gloucestershire with 16, frequency 1: 35,816, very closely followed by Somerset with 15, frequency 1: 31,368 and Berkshire with 4, frequency 1: 55,006. No occurrences in Dorset are recorded for this census.

In 2014 the surname SPURLE was the 1,485,262nd most common surname in the world with approximately 69 people bearing the surname. The SPURLE surname was most prevalent in England with the highest density being in New Zealand.

The frequency in England was 1:1,255,814 with the incidence being 43 and the ranking in the nation of 75,927.

The frequency in New Zealand was 1:324,768 with the incidence being 14 and ranking of 26,722.

The information above was taken from the website:

Distribution of the name

In the 1881 Census of England the SPURLE surname is Distributed between Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Berkshire, with the most occurrences being in Devon.


I am also a Online Parish Clerk for the Parish of Broadwindsor which includes Blackdown & Drimpton.