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

Where did the English Cantwell family come from? What is the English Cantwell family crest and coat of arms? When did the Cantwell family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Cantwell family history?

The roots of the Anglo-Saxon name Cantwell come from when the family resided in Kentwell, in the county of Suffolk. Kentwell dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Kanewella, part of the lands held by Frodo, the Abbot's Brother. "Aelfgar held Kentwell freely under Siward of Maldon as a manor with 2 carucates of land with Soke. There were thereon at that time 7 villans, and afterwards, and now 4 villans." [1] Today, Kentwell Hall is a stately home in Long Melford, Suffolk and is used for numerous film and television productions, However, it does date back to presumably the manor mentioned in the Domesday Book but in a very different form. Kentwell Hall was owned later by Galleus from 1145 to 1148. In the early 13th century, records show that Sir Gilbert de Kentewell held the manor, but by 1252 had been granted by King Henry III to Sir William de Valence.


The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Cantwell has been recorded under many different variations, including Cantwall, Cantwell, Cantwel, Kantwell, Kentwell and many more.

First found in Suffolk where the earliest records were in the year 1273 when Gilbert de Kentwelle was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls. This is presumed to be the senior line of the family name but they held a family seat there from a very early date, probably the 10th century.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cantwell research. Another 57 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1500, 1406, 1452 and 1319 are included under the topic Early Cantwell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Cantwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Cantwell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 359 words (26 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Cantwell or a variant listed above:

Cantwell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Cantwell settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Edmd Cantwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1659
  • Ann Cantwell, who landed in Maryland in 1678
  • Mary Cantwell, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1685
  • Mary Cantwell settled in Pennsylvania in 1685

Cantwell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Cantwell, aged 19, landed in Massachusetts in 1812
  • John Cantwell, who arrived in New York, NY in 1846
  • James Cantwell, who landed in New York, NY in 1849
  • Mrs. W B Cantwell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Michael Cantwell, who landed in Ohio in 1861

Cantwell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. Richard Cantwell U.E who settled in Parr Town [Saint John], New Brunswick c. 1783

Cantwell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Jeffery Cantwell, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1833

Cantwell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Donna Cantwell, aged 19, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"
  • James Cantwell, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Utopia"
  • Patrick Cantwell, aged 32, a labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Utopia"

Cantwell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Joseph Cantwell arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Elizabeth Cantwell arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859
  • Eliza Cantwell arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Mermaid" in 1859


  • Mary Cantwell (1930-2000), American journalist and novelist
  • Benjamin Caldwell "Ben" Cantwell (1902-1962), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1927 to 1937
  • Robert Emmett Cantwell (1908-1978), American novelist and critic, best known for his work The Land of Plenty (1934, 1971)
  • Maria E Cantwell (b. 1958), American politician, Senator from the state of Washington (2001-)
  • Christian Cantwell (b. 1980), American six-time gold medalist shot putter
  • John Joseph Cantwell (1874-1947), American clerygman, first archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles
  • Jonathan Cantwell (b. 1982), Australian professional road bicycle racer
  • Lesley Cantwell (1987-2013), New Zealand gold medalist racewalker at the 2013 Oceania Athletics Championships
  • Graham Cantwell, Irish film and television director
  • Major General John Patrick Cantwell, retired senior Australian Army officer



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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)

Other References

  1. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  3. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  5. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  7. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  9. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  10. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  11. ...

The Cantwell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cantwell 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 29 December 2015 at 17:31.

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