Spencer Family History
Spencer Name Meaning
English (Lancashire and Yorkshire): occupational name for someone who dispensed provisions or money from Middle English spenser(e) spencer(e) ‘household steward butler almoner’ (Anglo-Norman French espenser Old French despensier). Compare Spence and Spender . There is some dispute about the origins of the Spencer family whose most famous member in recent times was the late Princess of Wales born Lady Diana Spencer (1961–97). Some sources say that they are descended from William the Conqueror's steward Robert Despencer. What is clear is that by the 15th century they had become prosperous from sheep farming in Northamptonshire. Robert Spencer (died 1627) was said to be the wealthiest man in England. Their titles have included Earls of Sunderland and Earls Spencer; and through the female line the 5th Earl of Sunderland also became Duke of Marlborough in 173 This connection was the result of the marriage in 1700 of the 3rd Duke of Sunderland to the daughter of John Churchill 1st Duke of Marlborough. The youngest son of this union John Spencer (1708–46) was the father of the 1st Earl Spencer (1734–83).
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press