From: "Valerie Sprott"
To: "Tom McKnight"
Subject: A little bit more history on "SPROTT"
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001

Hello from Kent, England. My name is Lindsay Sprott, I was born in Dunedin, New Zealand and have lived here for the last 21 years.

My wife, Valerie was very interested in our surname and did a bit of snooping through the history books and found an interesting little story you may not have heard before.

It comes from a book entitled "In Scotland Again" by H. V. Morton.

In the Galloway area is a place called the Mote of Urr which only claim to fame is the story of Robert the Bruce who wandered landless and as a fugitive, footsore and weary one morning when he was surprised by an English Knight, Sir Walter Selby, who challenged him to a fight.

Bruce accepted, and the two men began to fight. Then a most undignified thing happened. An old woman named "SPROTTE", whose little hovel was built on the Mote, put down the porridge pot and went out to see what all the noise was about.

When Dame Sprotte saw the fugitive King locked in mortal combat she decided, like a decisive Scotswoman, to take part in the fight. So she flung herself on the Englishman (some say she tackled him like a rugby forward, others say she pulled his hair). Sir Walter, who felt quite capable of engaging the Bruce, surrendered instantly to Mrs Sprotte.

He crashed to the earth and lay there helplessly. Bruce, no matter what his enemies said about him, was a gentleman. He refused (probably to the rage of Mrs Sprott) to take advantage of the fallen knight. He suggested instead that they both go and eat Mr Sprotte's porridge.

Once inside the cottage, Mrs Sprotte proved how difficult a woman could be by placing the bowl of porridge in front of Bruce with just one spoon, flatly refusing to get another spoon for the Englishman.

The traditional story goes that in thanks for saving his life the Bruce promised Dame Sprotte as much land as she could run around. Probably more to the truth, she had made herself such a confounded nuisance, glaring at the Englishman, hiding the spoons, growling and snorting at him, that in order to get rid of her and act like a gallant gent to Sir Walter, he told her to go outside and run about and that should he ever regain the crown he would give her as much ground as she had covered.

The old girl immediately saw the point of this suggestion and rushed wildly round the neighboring meadows whilst the Bruce, still with only one spoon, shared the porridge with the Englishman.

It's an historic fact that in later years a grant of twenty acres of land was given to the Sprottes of the Mote of Urr and that it remained with the family for five hundred years. The condition of the grant being that if ever the king of Scotland passed through the vale of Urr, a bowl of porridge was to be presented to him by the Sprottes.

An interesting snippet of life!!

Thought you'd be interested, I look forward to dipping into your website again.

Bye for now,
Lindsay Sprott

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