Sproul Project

Descendants of Walter Spreull, Lord of Cauldhame, in the shire of Dumbarton
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About us

This page is dedicated to posting Sproul information that you might find interesting. If you have anything you would like to share with the group that can be posted here please send to the administrator email.

Posted: 06 January 2020

2019 was an excellent year for the Sproul project. We were able to establish many lines in Ulster, particularly in County Tyrone. This would not have been possible without having Irish testers participating in the project. An incredible amount of information was learned and we continue to uncover more as testing is ongoing. If you are an Irish Sproul and have not tested, please consider doing so. It is vitally important that we have as many of you participating in order for us to truly understand how we are all related!

Our project goal for 2020 is to locate as many Scottish Sprouls that are also willing to participate in the Sproul project. We are at a point now in the project that weneed to start linking these lines back to Scotland. We cannot do this without Scottish testers! Please, if you are a male Scottish Sproul please consider joining us!

Posted: 17 March 2017

Ancient historical background of Walter Spreul and his time found here.


Posted: 16 March 2017

A short story about experiences in Cauldhame;


Interesting reading from:

A History of the County of Renfrew from the Earliest Times
Chapter X.—Families


The Spreulls have long ceased to own their ancestral estate of Cowdon, in the parish of Neilston. During the period here dealt with, they were a family of considerable note. The first of them I have been able to meet with is Walter Spreull, Lord of Coldame, in the shire of Dumbarton, who, about the year 1294, was seneschal or steward to the Earl of Lennox, and with others, at the Earl’s direction, was holding courts in the Lennox property of the monks of Paisley, and in various ways seeking to deprive them of the donations conferred upon their house by one of the Earl’s predecessors. The cause of the monks was espoused by Robert Wishart, the famous Bishop of Glasgow, and afterwards “ the best perjured man in Scotland.” The Earl and his Steward paid no attention to the appeals of the Bishop. Robert at last directed the vicars of Carmunnock, Cathcart, Pollok, Kilmacolm and Kilbarchan to attend the courts the Earl and his steward were holding, and to warn them against interfering in the affairs of the Abbot and Convent “ contrary to God and to justice,” and in the event of their paying no heed to their warning, the vicars were, with all due solemnity, to proceed to excommunicate the Earl and his steward and all who adhered to them, and to lay the churches and chapels in the district under an interdict. This was only the beginning of the trouble between the Earl and the monastery. The controversy continued for many years, and was not settled until after the close of the English wars.

In 1296, Walter Spreull signed the Ragman Roll and took the oath of fealty to Edward I. of England. Among the garrison holding the Castle of Edinburgh for the English in 1335 was one Thomas Spreull, an esquire; but whether he belonged to the Cowdon family is uncertain, though it is not unlikely that he did. The same, or another, Thomas Spreull (“ Sproule ”) is mentioned in the Exchequer Rolls for 1368, 1368, 1372, as the receiver of stores for the Castle of Edinburgh. Under the year 1366, in the same Rolls, a Walter Spreull is mentioned as paying into the Exchequer the contribution of the barony of Glasgow towards the King’s ransom. At Bar, on August 29,

1483, Master William Spreull witnessed a charter whereby Hugh Lord Montgomery and Giffying gave to Alexander Montgomery, son and apparent heir of Robert Montgomery of Giffyng and his spouse Jonet of Dunlop, the five merk land of Bar, lying within the lordship of Giffyng and in the bailiary of Cunningham. With the exception of Sir Thomas Petcon, chaplain, the witnesses were Montgomeries.

In 1531 “ the laird of Cowdoun ” was engaged in a feud with the laird of Colgrane. One of the witnesses to the charter by which Alexander Porterfield sold his lands of Porterfield in the barony of Renfrew to his brother germane, Master John Porterfield, and his wife Beatrice Cunningham, on August 16, 1540, was Thomas Sprewill de Coldon. (Cowdon).

According to Nisbet there were several branches of the family, as the Spruells of Ladymuir, of Castlehill, and of Blachairne.

John Spreul, a younger son of the Cowdon family, was, in 1507, made vicar of Dundonald. At the same time he was one of the professors of philosophy in the University of Glasgow. Afterwards he was appointed Rector of the University. Subsequently he was advanced by Bishop Dunbar to be one of the prebends of his Cathedral Church, and in virtue of his prebendary became vicar of Ancrum. In 1541 he was a canon of Glasgow, and is so designated in a charter, according to which he bought from Lord Lyle, on the 25th August in that year, the lands of lie King’s Meadow, King’s Orchard, and Castlemilk, all lying within the territory of the burgh of Renfrew. Two years after this, he bought from Gabriel Semple of Ladymure, his wife Jonet Spreul consenting thereto, the lands of Ladymure in the lordship of Duchal and the parish of Kilmacolm, then occupied and cultivated by John Cochrane, George Lyle, and Jonet Caldwell. The contract was signed at Cathcart, April 25, 1543. On November 25 in the same year, Gabriel Semple and his wife Jonet Spreule purchased the lands and town of Cathcart, and assumed the designation of Cathcart. On July 27, 1545, the Queen granted to James Stewart of Cardonald, together with other lands, those of Dalmore and Dalquhorne4 in the lordship of Coldame in Dumbartonshire, the latter of which Walter Spreull of Cowdon had received from the Earl of Lennox in the time of Alexander III. In addition to the lands above mentioned, Master John Spreull is said to have purchased the lands of Blachairn in the lordship of Provan, and “ a fair lodging ” within the city of Glasgow. He died in the year 1555, leaving the whole of his property to John Spreull, his nephew, and son of his brother Robert, a burgess of Glasgow. At the Reformation, John is said to have become rector of Cambuslang.

In 1610, James Spreull of Cowdon was witness to a precept of dare constat by James Earl of Glencairn, dated at Glasgow, June 12. John Spreull, his successor, sold the lands of Cowdon to William Lord Cochrane, father of the first Earl of Dundonald, in 1622. John Spreull, the vicar of Cambuslang, was succeeded by his son and heir, whose son was Provost of Renfrew, and attended the Parliament of 1630 as one of the Commissioners of the Royal Burghs. The Provost was succeeded by his son, who was bred to the law, and was appointed Town Clerk of the city of Glasgow, and subsequently was one of the principal clerks of the Court of Session. In the Parliament of 1645 Renfrew was again represented by a John Spreull.