Attwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Attwell is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in southeastern England mainly in the counties of Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire where they were found since the early Middle Ages. [1]

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. [2]

Another source noted that the name is from "Atte Welle; a location name. Adopted as a surname 1258-1358, Court of Husting, London. " [3]

Early Origins of the Attwell family

The surname Attwell was 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. [4]

There were a multitude of early spellings of the name. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Adam Ate Welle, Oxfordshire; and John Atewelle, Cambridgeshire. The Writ of Parliament list: William atte Well, 1313 and John Atwelle. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists Willelmus Attewell.

In Norfolk, Jef the Franch Atwelle, was rector of Erpingham, Norfolk, 1448 and Hugh Attwyll, was parson of Cawverly, Devon, 1602. [5]

Early History of the Attwell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Attwell research. Another 120 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1258, 1495, 1499, 1621 and 1609 are included under the topic Early Attwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Attwell Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Attwell are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Attwell include: Attwill, Attwell, Atwill, Atwell, Atthill, Athill, Atwool, Attwel and many more.

Early Notables of the Attwell family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include John Atwell, Rector of Exeter College, Oxford (1495-1499); and Hugh Atwell (died 1621), an English actor, one of the 'Children of her Majesty's...
Another 28 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Attwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Attwell migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Attwell or a variant listed above:

Attwell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Benjamin Attwell, who settled in New London in Massachusetts in 1638
  • Ann Attwell, who settled in Maryland in 1661
  • Mary Attwell, sent to Nevis as a servant from Bristol in 1661
  • Christian Attwell, who arrived in Maryland in 1663
  • Abigail Attwell, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Attwell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard Attwell, who arrived in America in 1759
Attwell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Attwell, who arrived in New York in 1827

Australia Attwell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Attwell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • James Attwell, aged 32, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Macedon" [7]
  • Sarah Attwell, aged 15, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Macedon" [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Attwell (post 1700) +

  • Robert Allan "Bob" Attwell (b. 1959), retired American professional NHL ice hockey player who played 22 games in the NHL with the Colorado Rockies between 1979 and 1981, born in Spokane, Washington, but grew up in Toronto, Ontario
  • Michael John Attwell (b. 1943), English actor, best known for his role as Kenny Beale in the television soap opera EastEnders, honoured at the British Academy Television Awards in 2006
  • Jamie Wayne Attwell (b. 1982), English football goalkeeper
  • Frederick Reginald "Reg" Attwell (1920-1986), English professional association football player
  • Stuart Steven Attwell (b. 1982), English professional football referee
  • Mabel Lucie Attwell (1879-1964), British children's illustrator
  • Ronald Allan "Ron" Attwell (1935-2017), retired Canadian professional ice hockey player who played 22 games in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers, father of Bob Attwell


  1. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  6. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 11 January 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MACEDON 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/macedon1853.shtml


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