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Spear

The first reference to the Spear or Speer family so far identified is when Joan, the daughter of Stephen & Joane Speere was christened in Chewton Mendip on 2nd September 1639. Most of the other references to the family are found in the identified in the churchwardens accounts and the poor books for 1730 and later in the 18th century. A few records for this family linked to Chewton Mendip have yet been discovered in the 19th century but it was a relatively common name in West Harptree and other villages nearby.
A Betty Speers in mentioned in the Chewton Mendip vestry committee records. She may have been the Elizabeth who was the mother of the illegitimate children Mary, James and Susanna who were christened from 1726 to 1735.
There are records for the Speer and Spears in various records throughout the 18th century.
Anne, was the daughter of Sarah Spear and a unnamed father, was baptised in Chewton Mendip on 27/12/1778. The lack of the father’s name in the FreeReg record may suggest that this was another illegitimate birth or just that the name could not be transcribed.
A Thomas Spear was married Hester and they had a son, Reuben, born in 1799 in Chewton Mendip. It is possible that Hester was a member of the Curtis family. Reuben was buried on 7th July 1799 aged six months and Hester died soon after. She was buried on 21st September 1801. Thomas remarried and had several children with his second wife Mary. It is possible that Wiliiam Spear was his brother. William was married to Anne and they named one of their daughters born in 1808 Mary Anne, possibly in recognition of the wives of the two brothers.
A Thomas Speer was in receipt of poor relief and he probably died in 1780. A Thomas Speer was one of the people inoculated against smallpox in 1784 at the expense of Chewton Mendip. He may have been the so far unidentified son of Thomas who had died in 1780. He may have been the Thomas who was married earlier.
The most recent record for the family so far found in Chewton Mendip is when Charlotte, who was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Spear, was born on 26th July 1812 and was baptised on 23rd August 1812 in Chewton Mendip.
A later record about the Spear family is of interest for a number of reasons. John Lamrock Speer was the son of Angelo and Martha Spear. Gait Spear and Martha Curtis married in St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol on 26  November 1835.  The witnesses were Elizabeth Curtis, presumably Martha’s  spinster sister, and Samuel Harwood, a regular witness. John Lamrock was born on 26th January 1844 and was baptised on 11th May 1845 in Hinton Blewett. Angelo was a blacksmith and his first name is unusual but the middle name of his son suggests that his wife was Martha Curtis, the daughter of Lamrock and Anne Curtis  who may have been born in 1810 or 1812. One explanation for Angelo’s unusual name is that he had a sister called Angel Gait Speer born in 1810. It is possible that Angel died as an infant so her brother was given the closet male equivalent of her name. However, there may have ben a transcription error so thre never was an Angel Gait Speer and Angelo was born in 1810.  Angelo died in Bristol c 1855 and Martha died c 1876, Clutton district.
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