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

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

The roots of the Anglo-Saxon name Cantwell come from when the family resided in Kentwell, in the county of Suffolk. Kentwell dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Kanewella, part of the lands held by Frodo, the Abbot's Brother. "Aelfgar held Kentwell freely under Siward of Maldon as a manor with 2 carucates of land with Soke. There were thereon at that time 7 villans, and afterwards, and now 4 villans." [1] Today, Kentwell Hall is a stately home in Long Melford, Suffolk and is used for numerous film and television productions, However, it does date back to presumably the manor mentioned in the Domesday Book but in a very different form. Kentwell Hall was owned later by Galleus from 1145 to 1148. In the early 13th century, records show that Sir Gilbert de Kentewell held the manor, but by 1252 had been granted by King Henry III to Sir William de Valence.


The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Cantwell has been recorded under many different variations, including Cantwall, Cantwell, Cantwel, Kantwell, Kentwell and many more.

First found in Suffolk where the earliest records were in the year 1273 when Gilbert de Kentwelle was listed in the Hundred Rolls. This is presumed to be the senior line of the family name but they held a family seat there from a very early date, probably the 10th century.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cantwell research. Another 57 words(4 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1500, 1406, 1452 and 1319 are included under the topic Early Cantwell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Cantwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Cantwell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 359 words(26 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Cantwell or a variant listed above:

Cantwell Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • John Cantwell settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Edmd Cantwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1659
  • Ann Cantwell, who landed in Maryland in 1678
  • Mary Cantwell, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1685
  • Mary Cantwell settled in Pennsylvania in 1685

Cantwell Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • William Cantwell, aged 19, landed in Massachusetts in 1812
  • John Cantwell, who arrived in New York, NY in 1846
  • James Cantwell, who landed in New York, NY in 1849
  • Mrs. W B Cantwell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Michael Cantwell, who landed in Ohio in 1861


  • John Joseph Cantwell (1874-1947), American clerygman, first archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles
  • Maria E Cantwell (b. 1958), American politician, Senator from the state of Washington (2001-)
  • Robert Emmett Cantwell (1908-1978), American novelist and critic, best known for his work The Land of Plenty (1934, 1971)
  • Christian Cantwell (b. 1980), American six-time gold medalist shot putter
  • Benjamin Caldwell "Ben" Cantwell (1902-1962), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1927 to 1937
  • Mary Cantwell (1930-2000), American journalist and novelist
  • Noel Euchuria Cornelius Cantwell, Irish cricketer and football player
  • Major General John Patrick Cantwell, retired senior Australian Army officer
  • Graham Cantwell, Irish film and television director
  • Lesley Cantwell (1987-2013), New Zealand gold medalist racewalker at the 2013 Oceania Athletics Championships



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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  4. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  6. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...

The Cantwell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cantwell 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 16 March 2014 at 07:17.

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