It is very doubtful if any surname origins raises more controversy than Spel(l)man. In brief it can be English, German or Irish. The English name is Anglo-Saxon and therefore a development of the original German "spellar" which described a cleric or writer - one who could spell. In this case the name is recorded at least as far back as the 11th century when Goduine filius Spilemanni (Godwine the son of Spilman), was registered in the rolls of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in 1095. However this is not a surname, that came rather later, see below.
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