The name Spooner, or its variant Sponer or Sponear, first appears in Wickhamford parish records in 1544; the last incidence is in 1637. There are also a few occurrences of the name in Badsey.
Generation 1 – William Spooner (?-1544)
William Spooner was probabaly born c1470-1480. According to the Reverend Peter Braby (a former Vicar of Badsey and Wickhamford) who made a study of the family, William Spooner first came to Wickhamford from Twyford in 1529 when he leased Wickhamford Manor from Evesham Abbey for 51 years. Reverend Braby’s article first appeared in the September 1972 issue of the parish magazine; in 2013, Tom Locke wrote an article about the Spooner family of Wickhamford Manor.
William Spooner had at least one son, Thomas (c1500-1593). William died at Wickhamford in 1544.
Generation 2 – Thomas Spooner (c1500-1593)
We know from a memorial to Thomas Spooner that he was born about 1500, as the inscription gives his age as 93 at the time of death in 1593. Thomas presumably took over the lease of Wickhamford Manor in 1544 on the death of his father. In 1562, the Manor was sold to Thomas Throckmorton and in 1565 he leased it to Thomas Spooner for 61 years. The Downshire papers at Berkshire Record Office contain a reference to Wickhamford title deeds; a document of 1575 mentions the names Throckmorton and Sponer.
Thomas was married to Jane and is known to have had four children, all baptised at Wickhamford: Thomas (1547-1614), Elizabeth (1550), John (1552-1555) and Stephen (1556-1587) and, most likely a son, William (?-1601). Thomas’ wife, Jane, died in 1584; there is a tablet to her in Wickhamford Church.
Thomas Spooner died in 1593 and was buried at Wickhamford, although a memorial was later erected to him in the church at Tanworth in Arden, Warwickshire where his son was then living. Above the inscription is the coat of arms and crest of the Spooner family which had been granted to Thomas in 1589.
Generation 3 – William Spooner (?-1601) and Thomas Spooner (1547-1614)
William Spooner (?-1601), a yeoman, is thought to be a son of Thomas and Jane and may have taken over the lease of Wickhamford Manor. Reverend Braby, in his 1972 article, thought that the William who died in 1601 was the brother of Thomas who died in 1593. At that stage, Reverend Braby would not have been aware of the age of Thomas at his death or of the memorial to him at Tanworth. At a time when parish registers were in their infancy, it is possible that William was a son rather than a brother.
William was married to Margaret and had five sons and six daughters, all baptised at Wickhamford: Thomas (1580), William (1582), Henry (1584-1587), Jane (1586), Anthony (1588-1588), Margaret (1589), Frances (1591), John (1594-1594), Elizabeth (1595-1621), Alice (1598) and Mary (1600).
In 1594 the Thockmorton family sold the Manor to Sir Samuel Sandys of Ombersley. William Spooner died at Wickhamford in 1601. An inventory of his estate was drawn up after his death (Reverend Braby believed this to be a description of Wickhamford Manor). William Spooner’s widow, Margaret, still held two houses and land (called “Yeates” and “Julians”) in Wickhamford at her death in 1631. The Manorial court records reveal that she had died away from Wickhamford and that a sorrel (chestnut) horse was taken for a heriot (a feudal death duty), together with a sum of money.
Thomas Spooner (1547-1614), the son of Thomas and Jane Spooner, is thought to be the Thomas who had two children baptised at Wickhamford: William (1597) and Annes (1599). In 1601, following the death of William Spooner (thought to be his brother), Thomas, described as “Gentleman”, was one of the assessors for William’s inventory. In 1602, Thomas bought Clay Hall near Tanworth-in-Arden. Thomas died in 1614 and was buried at Tanworth. The Clay Hall estate was later sold by Thomas Spooner’s grandson, William.
Thomas Spooner (1580), the son of William and Margaret, had two sons and two daughters baptised at Wickhamford: William (1610), Anne (1612), Sara (1616-1637) and Anthony (1618).
Margaret Spooner (1589-1641), the daughter of William and Margaret, married William Bowker at Wickhamford in 1618. She remained in Wickhamford for the rest of her life.
The name of Spooner died out in Wickhamford before the Civil War with the death of Sara Spooner in 1637.
- Frances Spooner, married John Fido at Wickhamford in 1590.
- John Sponer, buried at Wickhamford in 1597.
Spooner/Sponer Family in Badsey
In 1546, a William Sponer, married Agnes Pigyn at Badsey. He may have been the son of William Spooner who had come from Twyford in 1529 to take on the lease of Wickhamford Manor.
There are two other mentions of the name in Badsey records: William Sponer who was buried at Badsey in 1599 and, also in 1599, Margaret Sponer, wife of William, was buried. Possibly the William who had married in 1546 had married again and this was his second wife.
- Position in League Table: 5 (Wickhamford top ten 1500s), 9 (Wickhamford top ten 1600s)
- Name variants: Spooner, Sponer, Sponear
- Name origin: An occupational name, deriving from the Middle English word "spon" which means a curved wooden roof tile or shingle, and hence the surname describes a maker, fitter or merchant of these early building products.
- Total number of Wickhamford baptism records: 21
- Total number of Wickhamford marriage records: 2
- Total number of Wickhamford burial records: 16
- Total number of Badsey marriage records: 1
- Total number of Badsey burial records: 2
Maureen Spinks, May 2019