by Mary Helen Haines
Hope everyone has had a lovely summer. I know many of you are preparing for the 2020 trip to Scotland/Ireland. The experiences I had on the 2009 and the 2014 trips were unforgettable. Scotland and Ireland are both magical places, and the chance to share those with fellow Macfarlanes is very special. Getting a chance to visit Inveruglas and Eilean-a-Vhow, as well as Gartartan are not to be missed.
Congratulations to Joe Osborn, my 7th cousin, on the completion and publication of his book The McFarlands: Eight Generations of the family from Robert McFarlan to John Barton McFarland. It is a beautiful book, filled with maps, illustrations, primary source documents, letters, and photographs. Thank you for the copy.
Last quarter we added a new Sproul member to CMW, which prompted more research to help connect this line to known lines. That led me to look at the Sprouls in our MacFarlane DNA project, which then led me to the Sproul DNA project and its administrator Joe Sprowl.
Joe has been a member of CMW since 2014, but had not submitted his pedigree, so we had no contact up to this point. Since then, I have been asked by Joe to join the Sproul DNA project so we can collaborate and look into the Scottish background of Sproul descendants. We encourage all Sprouls (any spelling) to test their DNA and be a part of both the Sproul project and the MacFarlane project. Many Sprouls (again, all spellings) in the southern part of the U.S. descend from Doctor Godfrey Spruill, who was born in Scotland about 1650, came to America about 1784, and died in 1719 on his patented land in Chowan District, North Carolina.
To provide background on the history of the Sproul Sept, Joe has kindly agreed to introduce this Sept to those of us who may not be familiar with the Sprouls.
Thank you for the gracious invitation as a guest writer on the topic of the family of Sproul, sept of Clan MacFarlane, at the invitation of Mary Helen Haines and Loch Sloy! I would like to take this opportunity to focus the article on the history of this lesser known family and its connection to Clan MacFarlane. And if invited to, I would like to follow up in time, on different aspects of our relationship with Clan MacFarlane since ancient times. But for now, I feel it is more important first to give a preliminary overview of our Family.
The Sproul family of Norman origins and Germanic ancestry has a long and complex history in Scotland dating back to the latter period of the 13th century. The earliest known Sproul, or “Spreull” was Walter Spreull (c.1285) of Coldoun (or Cowden), Neilston, Renfrewshire. Walter held the title Seneschal to Malcolm, 5th Earl of Lennox, and this relationship with the Lennox earls would continue with future generations of Spreulls. It is from this Walter that many, if not all Sprouls, today claim descent.
The Sproul connection with Clan MacFarlane is not as widely understood. What is known however is that Walter as seneschal would have been deeply involved in the affairs of the House of Lennox and Clan MacFarlane. A deep and interwoven connection between Lennox, MacFarlane and Spreull is evident as they share similarities in their arms. But their fidelity during this period of Spreull history most assuredly would have been with the Earls of Lennox.
Lennox MacFarlane Spruell