Show ContentsBothwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Scottish surname Bothwell comes from a place in Lanarkshire, derived from the Middle English words "bothy," meaning a "small hut," and "well," meaning a "spring," or "stream," or "wyell," which denoted a fishing pool in the river."The place name is derived from a 'weyll' or fishpool in the Clyde." [1]

Another source notes "the name is supposed, by some, to be derived from Both, an eminence, and wall, a castle, terms applied to the parish from the elevated situation of Bothwell Castle above the river Clyde; others derive it from two Celtic words, both, signifying a dwelling, and ael, or hyl, a river, as descriptive of the castle in its contiguity to the river." [2]

Early Origins of the Bothwell family

The surname Bothwell was first found in Lanarkshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, possibly even before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D. The earliest record found of the name is of William de Bothvile, who witnessed a grant in Circa 1190-1220. A Roger de Bodevill was a juror on inquisition relating to the lands of Hopkelchoc, in 1259. [1]

"As for the antiquity of this name, the first that I have met with is one Arthur Bothwell, of Adam, who was knighted by King James IV., whose son was likewise a knight, called Sir Francis." [3]

Early History of the Bothwell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bothwell research. Another 132 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1347, 1366, 1369, 1342, 1536, 1578, 1527, 1593, 1617, 1663, 1640, 1644, 1609 and are included under the topic Early Bothwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bothwell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Bothwell, Borthwell, Bothwel, Borthwel, Bothewell, Boduel and many more.

Early Notables of the Bothwell family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Richard de Botheuile, provost of Aberdeen in 1342; and James Hepburn Bothwell (1536-1578), 4th Earl Bothwell, Scottish nobleman, third husband of Mary Queen of Scots Adam Bothwell (1527?-1593), was Bishop...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bothwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bothwell Ranking

In the United States, the name Bothwell is the 12,261st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Bothwell family to Ireland

Some of the Bothwell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bothwell migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bothwell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Bothwell, who landed in New England in 1719 [5]
  • David Bothwell, who settled in Georgia in 1779
  • Alexander Bothwell who settled in Wilmington Del. in 1790
Bothwell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Bothwell, who settled in New England in 1805
  • John Bothwell, who arrived in America in 1805 [5]
  • James Bothwell, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1828
  • William Bothwell, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1847 [5]
  • George Bothwell, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1848 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Bothwell migration to Australia +

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

Bothwell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Margaret Bothwell "Alias Gunn", Scottish convict from Aberdeen, who was transported aboard the "Anna Maria" on October 4, 1851, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bothwell (post 1700) +

  • Johnny Bothwell (b. 1919), American Jazz musician and bandleader
  • Dorr Hodgson Bothwell (1902-2000), American artist, designer, and educator
  • John H. Bothwell, American Republican politician, Member of Missouri State House of Representatives from Pettis County, 1901-04; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 1908, 1928 [7]
  • James Hepburn Bothwell (1537-1578), Scottish husband of Mary Queen of Scots/nobleman
  • Tim Bothwell (b. 1955), Canadian professional NHL ice hockey player
  • Robert Selkirk Bothwell (b. 1944), Canadian historian, Professor at the University of Toronto

The Bothwell 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: Obdura adversus urgentia
Motto Translation: Not yielding to provocations.

  1. 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)
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anna Maria voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1851 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 7) . Retrieved from on Facebook