Background of the Surname


Dictionary of English & Welsh Surnames Bardsley [Centre for Oxfordshire Studies]
Spratley Local, 'of Sproatley,' a parish in E. Rid. Yorks, seven miles from Hull, lit. the field that belonged to Sprot; v. Spratt.
1612 Edward Spratley, cook, and Ellen Moorton: Marriage Lic. (London) ii.14.
1795 Married - Thomas Porter and Mary Spratley; St Geo. Han. Sq. ii.124.
London, 3; MDB. (co. Berks), 2; New York,2.
Spratt, Sproat, Sprott, Sprout, Sproutt Bapt. 'the son of Sprot,' Domesday (co. Derby). For further instances, v. Sproat.
Sproat Bapt. 'the son of Sprot,' a Domesday personal name; v. Spratt, which is a variant.

The Historical Research Center, Registration Number 0197
The English surname Pratley is of locative origin, belonging to that category of surnames derived from the place where the original bearer once lived or held land. In this instance, the surname is a variant form of the surname Spratley which is ultimately derived from the parish of Sproatley located near Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It is derived from the Old English personal name Sprot meaning "young sprout, shoot" and the Old English word "leah" meaning "wood, clearing". Thus "one who lives by or near Sprot's clearing, wood". This place name is recorded in the Domesday Book drawn up by the Normans in the wake of the Conquest of 1066 as Sprotele and as Sprotelai. The noted scholar Bardsley states that the first element of the name Prat is derived from Sprat although in some cases this personal name may owe its origin to the Old English "proett" meaning trick which is found as a byname in the later eleventh century. The earliest written reference to the surname Pratley and its variants Spratley, Spratlye, Sprotley, Sproatley in English records dates back to the thirteenth century. John de Sprottele is recorded in the Feet of Fines for Essex in 1251. Edward Spratley and Ellen Moorton obtained a Marriage License in London in 1612 and Thomas Porter married Mary Spratley in St. George's Church, Hanover Square in 1795. James Spratlye is recorded in the Judicial Court Proceedings for Surrey in May 1721.
 BLAZON OF ARMS Azure two bars or, in chief three suns in splendour proper.
 TRANSLATION Azure (blue) denotes Truth and Loyalty. Or (gold) signifies Generosity and Elevation of Mind. The suns denote Strength, Prudence and Power.
 CREST Out of a ducal coronet or, a dragon's head vert.
 ORIGIN England.

Sprotley and Spratley

Buckinghamshire Dialect H. Harman (Hazell, Watson & Viney Ltd, 1929) [Aylesbury Central Library]
 O and A
The unrounding of the Middle English "o" in modern times is well explained and illustrated by Professor Wyld [History of Modern Colloquial English, 1925, pp.240-2]. He sees traces of it at the present time in "Gad, a weakened blasphemy, and in strap," whereon razors are sharpened. A good many examples are still to be heard in Bucks, as the following examples will show :
Wheeler End, three speakers at the Chequers on one evening said :
 (1) "I should like to see a good drap a raian to-night, fur ivverything can do wi it."
 (2) "Thaiur used to be two ole cottages at Chrisbridge crass roads, but they be pulled down now."
 (3) "The craps dooant look up to much, and they wunt till we git a good raian."
Waddesdon :
 (1) "I a jest bin and got mi ood in fur the marnin."
 (2) "Look at the ole gal gooin a-figgutin acrass the rooad."
 (3) "A fine, frasty marnin."
From my own experience this unrounding of the "o" is much less used north of Watling Street ; this seems a very arbitrary division, but in company where it might be expected at Wolverton, Woughton, Simpson, Woolston, and Newport Pagnell, I only remember hearing it at Ye Olde Swan, Woughton, and the speaker was a man from Steeple Claydon. On the other hand, as far to the north-west as Tingewick and as far south as Wraysbury, I have heard it in every place where I have happened to be.

Spratley and Pratley

The Wychwood, Vol. 3 No. 5 [Centre for Oxfordshire Studies, Bodleian Library]
p.10 How place names reveal the past
The Norman conquerors of 1066 brought a few new names, but more often they changed the form of existing ones. ... and their habit of dropping an initial S caused, for example, Snotingaham (village of Snot's people) to become Nottingham.