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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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.

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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.


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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.

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

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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 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 United States in the 18th Century


  • Henry Atwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1713

Atwell Settlers in 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

Atwell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Charles Atwell, aged 29, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "John Banks"

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  • Roy Atwell (1878-1962), American actor, comedian, and composer
  • William Hawley Atwell (1869-1961), American Republican politician, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, 1898-1913; Candidate for Governor of Texas, 1920; U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, 1923-54
  • Samuel Y. Atwell, American politician, Speaker of the Rhode Island State House of Representatives, 1836-37
  • Ross Atwell, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1956
  • Jesse Atwell, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Durham, 1830
  • J. O. Atwell, American politician, Mayor of Paris, Texas, 1952
  • Harry Hurd Atwell (b. 1877), American Democrat politician, Washtenaw County Surveyor, 1921-30; Washtenaw County Clerk, 1933-34
  • Gertrude Duncombe Atwell (1876-1941), American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Iowa, 1928, 1936, 1940
  • George J. Atwell, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1936, 1940, 1944
  • A. J. Atwell, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 4th District, 1883-85

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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).
  2. 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.
  3. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  4. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  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 November 2015 at 10:13.

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