Boswall History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The prestigious surname Boswall came to Britain with the Norman invasion of 1066. It is thought that the surname originated in Beauzeville, France, and that Elias de Boesevilla of this region was the first Norman settler to Britain. Many of these Norman families moved north, into Scotland in the period following the Norman Conquest of England. [1]

Early Origins of the Boswall family

The surname Boswall was first found in Yorkshire, where Sir Ralph Boswell of Guntwaite, a descendant of Elias de Boesevilla, the first settler from Normandy, held lands. In the 12th century Sir Ralph lost his Yorkshire estates to the Earls of Warenne. "The family were in England in 1136, and probably from the period of the Conquest." [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: John de Bosevil, Yorkshire; and Henry de Bosevil, Northamptonshire while the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included Agnes Bosseuill as holding lands there at that time. [3]

In Norfolk, record there show Robert de Bosewill, or Bosville, 1360; Walkcline de Bosevile, 1199; Isabell Boswel, 1464; and William Boswell, 1620. [4]

The family moved north to Scotland at the invitation of David, Earl of Huntingdon, where they settled in Berwickshire at Edenham. "The first of the name in Scotland was Robert de Boseuille, who witnessed several charters in the earlier part of the reign of William the Lion, and is said to have held land in Berwickshire. He was witness to a charter by Walter de Berkeley to the Abbey of Aberbrothoc c. 1170 and to the king's confirmation of same. Between 1178-80 he witnessed gift by William the Lion of a salina in Kars to the same abbey, and last appears c. 1204 when he witnessed grant of a toft in Forfar. Paganus de Bosseuilla before 1200 gave a bovate of land in Ede nlum to the Abbey of Kelso. Henry de Boysuill witnessed a charter by John, earl of Huntingdon to Norman, son of Malcolm c. 1225. Walter de Boseville was taken prisoner at Dunbar, 1296, and William de Boseville of Berwickshire and William de Boseville of Roxburghshire rendered homage, in same year. Noteworthy, too, is the fact that the names are alike spelled 'Boyville.' William de Boswill received payment of money for Sir Alexander de Seton, 1329, and Roger de Bosseuyll or Bosvyll was custumar and burgess of Edinburgh, 1368-9. Roger de Boswell married Marietta, daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Lochore of that Ilk, about middle of fourteenth century and was first of the family settled in Fife. " [5]

Early History of the Boswall family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Boswall research. Another 63 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1740, 1795, 1572, 1698, 1756, 1698, 1649, 1606 and 1633 are included under the topic Early Boswall History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Boswall Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Boswell, Boswall, Boseville, Boswald, Bosswald, Bosville, Boeseille, Bosvile, Bovill, Bowelle and many more.

Early Notables of the Boswall family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Macdonald Bosville of Sleat, Chief of the MacDonalds; and James Boswell (1740-1795), famous biographer of "The Life of Dr. Johnson," the great lexicographer. John Bossewell (fl. 1572), was an English "heraldic writer, was, according to his own statement, a northern man, and probably a member of the family of Bosvile, established for many generations in the neighbourhood of Doncaster. " [6] John Boswell (1698-1756), was an English author, descended...
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Boswall Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Boswall family to Ireland

Some of the Boswall family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Boswall migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Boswall Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Boswall, who arrived in Virginia in 1637 [7]
Boswall Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • G. Boswall, aged 23, arrived in New York in 1894 aboard the ship "Chester" from Southampton, England [8]
Boswall Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Efhraim Boswall, aged 22, arrived in New York City, New York in 1920 aboard the ship "Joseph J. Cuneo" from Port Antonio, Jamaica [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Boswall (post 1700) +

  • Sir Alexander Boswall, Scottish peer who Wardie Castle in Trinity, Edinburgh in 1780, eponym of Boswall Road
  • Karen Boswall, British independent film maker, known for award-winning documentaries
  • John Boswall (1920-2011), born John Stuart, an English actor, best known for his role as Wyvern in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  • Jeffery Boswall (1931-2012), British naturalist, broadcaster and educator


The Boswall Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Vraye Foi
Motto Translation: True faith.


  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. ^ 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)
  8. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JX9Z-S26 : 6 December 2014), G. Boswall, 22 May 1894; citing departure port Southampton, England, arrival port New York, ship name Chester, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  9. ^ "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J6HL-36N : 6 December 2014), Efhraim Boswall, 15 Jan 1920; citing departure port Port Antonio, Jamaica, arrival port New York City, New York, New York, ship name Joseph J. Cuneo, NARA microfilm publication T715 and M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).


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