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Subject: Re: origin of irish surnames Gillespie and Sproule
Author: Jim Young   (guest)
Date: November 26, 2006 at 12:05 PM
Reply to: origin of irish surnames Gillespie and Sproule by Tony Bettfuehr

Sproule is a Scottish surname though it is in Northern Ireland since the 17th century. I have yet to find an explanation for this name. There are various spellings, including Spreull, which looks like a Scottish dialect word equivalent to the English sprawl. I doubt that this is relevant but I mention it just in case. There is, or was, a place called Sproulstone in Renfrewshire, Scotland, but it may be called after the family.
Gillespie can be Scottish too, but there are Gillespies of Irish origin. The literal meaning is "servant of bishop", but it is a forename rather than a status name. The Irish Gillespies, originally MacGiollaEaspuig, are said to to be called after one Easpog Eoghan, or Bishop Owen, of Ardstraw, County Tyrone (?). He is also called Saint Eoghan, d. 618. I don't know which bishop the Scottish name Gillespie (Gaelic, Gilleasbuig)commemorates.

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