Show ContentsBackwall History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Backwall is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Backwall family lived in Derbyshire, in the town of Bakewell.

Early Origins of the Backwall family

The surname Backwall was first found in Derbyshire, at Bakewell, today a small market town in the Peak District. The town dates back to at least Anglo Saxon times when it was listed as Balecanwell in 949. By the time of the Domesday Book, the place was listed as Badequella and was derived from an Old English personal name + wella meaning "spring or stream of a man called Badeca." [1]

At that time, King Edward had 18 carucates of land to the geld and the land was large enough to hold 18 ploughs. There was one mill, one church and one lead mine with 80 acres of meadows. [2]

Bakewell Castle in the town of Bakewell was a motte and bailey castle built in the 12th century that was razed to the ground during the English Civil War; now only ruins can be seen.

John de Bankwell, Bakwell, or Banquelle (d. 1308), was an early English judge, "appointed in 1297 to travel the forests in Essex, Huntingdon, Northampton, Rutland, Surrey, and Sussex, for the purpose of enforcing the observance of the forest laws of Henry III." [3]

Roger de Bankwell (fl. 1340), the English judge, was "perhaps of the same family as John de Bankwell, and was one of three commissioners entrusted with the assessment of the tallage in the counties of Nottingham and Derby in 1333." [3]

Early History of the Backwall family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Backwall research. Another 47 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1618, 1683, 1654, 1708, 1685, 1689, 1690, 1701, 1682, 1752, 1650 and 1665 are included under the topic Early Backwall History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Backwall Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Bakewell, Backwell, Bakwell, Balkwell, Balkwill, Backwall, Bakewill, Bagwell and many more.

Early Notables of the Backwall family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Robert Bakewell of the Old Hall; Edward Backwell (ca. 1618-1683), an English goldsmith, financier, and politician, often referred to as "the principal founder of the banking system in England", and "far and away the best documented banker of his time"; and his son, John Backwell...
Another 54 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Backwall Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Backwall family to Ireland

Some of the Backwall family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 88 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Backwall family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Backwall or a variant listed above: Henry Bagwell who settled in Virginia in 1623; Peter Bagwell settled in Barbados in 1685; Thomas Bagwell in Virginia 1623; Francis Bakewell settled in Virginia in 1635.



  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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