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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Atwell family come from? What is the English Atwell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Atwell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Atwell family history?

The name Atwell first arose amongst the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from their having lived in southeastern England mainly in the counties of Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire where they were found since the early Middle Ages. The name is toponymic; that is, it is descriptive of the place where the original bearer lived. Literally the name is derived from the Old English atwell, meaning dweller at the well.


One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Atwell has appeared include Attwill, Attwell, Atwill, Atwell, Atthill, Athill, Atwool, Attwel and many more.

First found in south eastern England mainly in the counties of Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire where they held a family seat for many, many centuries. They are recorded as possessing estates before the advent of the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D. but many of them were lost to their Norman overlords by forfeit. The Eatwell variant is thought to be related to a Hugo de Hetewelle, listed in 1187 in the Pipe Rolls for Derbyshire.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Atwell research. Another 240 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1258, 1495, 1499, and 1621 are included under the topic Early Atwell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 36 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Atwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Atwell arrived in North America very early:

Atwell Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Israeli Atwell, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Nicholas Atwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1637
  • Katherin Atwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1638
  • Symon Atwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1648
  • Mary Atwell, who landed in Virginia in 1649

Atwell Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Henry Atwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1713

Atwell Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • John Atwell, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840
  • O Atwell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851


  • Roy Atwell (1878-1962), American actor, comedian, and composer
  • Hayley Elizabeth Atwell (b. 1982), English actress
  • Winifred Atwell (1910-1983), British pianist
  • Samuel Atwell (b. 1979), Australian television and movie actor


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  1. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  2. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  3. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  4. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  11. ...

The Atwell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Atwell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 10 June 2012 at 11:16.

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