Caswell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Caswell family

The surname Caswell was first found in Renfrewshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rinn Friù), a historic county of Scotland, today encompassing the Council Areas of Renfrew, East Renfrewshire, and Iverclyde, in the Strathclyde region of southwestern Scotland where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated at Carswell in the parish of Neilston in that shire, and later branched to Carnswell in the barony of Carnwath in Lanarkshire, and to Carswell in the barony of Hassendean in Roxburghshire.

"A family of Carsewells, who derived their name from Carsewell in the parish of Neilston, are said to have been settled in Renfrewshire for centuries, but they seldom appear in the public records. There is also a Carswell (in 15. cent., Creswell or Carswell) in the barony of Carnwath, Lanarkshire and there was a tenement of the same name in the barony of Hassendean, Roxburghshire. "

Alexander de Cressewell witnessed a charter by Roland of Galloway, son of Vchtred, c. 1200 and William Cresswell was Chancellor of Moray between 1281-1298. [1]

King Edward I's short lived invasion of Scotland was a difficult time for many including this family as Robert de Cressewelle was one of the Scots prisoners of war taken at Dunbar Castle in 1296. Symon de Cresseville of the county of Roxburgh, and David de Cressewelle of Lanarkshire rendered homage (to King Edward I) in 1296. [1]

Further to the south in England, the Hundreorum Rolls of 1723 list Richared de Carswall; (Dominus) de Carswill; and William de Karswill as all holding lands in Devon at that time. [2]

The Cresswell variant hails from Cresswell, Northumberland and there the name literally meant Cress-Spring dervived from the Old English caerse, cress + wiell (a spring: cp. Old English wiellcaerse, watercress) [3]

"The district comprises the townships of Cresswell and Ellington, the former of which was a possession of the Cresswell family previous to the reign of King John: the surface is generally level; and there is a good freestone-quarry. The old tower and mansionhouse of the Cresswells front the sea, and have in view the fine beach and sands of Druridge bay; the tower is 21½ feet long, and 16½ feet wide, within, and consists of a strong room vaulted with stone, on the groundfloor, and two rooms above, approached by a circular stone staircase. The new mansion, Cresswell Hall, the seat of A. J. Baker Cresswell, Esq., is a magnificent structure, erected in 1822." [4]

Early History of the Caswell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Caswell research. Another 60 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1373, 1603, 1560, 1572, 1557, 1623, 1583, 1688, 1743, 1710, 1713, 1713, 1715, 1654, 1712 and 1709 are included under the topic Early Caswell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Caswell Spelling Variations

The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years Caswell has been spelled Carswell, Cresswell, Carsewell, Cressville, Carswele, Kersewell, Cressewell, Chriswell and many more.

Early Notables of the Caswell family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was John Carsewell ( fl. 1560-1572), Scottish Bishop of the Isles, was in his earlier years chaplain to the Earl of Argyll and rector of Kilmartin. Joseph Cresswell (1557-1623?), was an English Jesuit, born in London and entered the Society of Jesus...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Caswell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Caswell migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were:

Caswell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Caswell, who landed in Maryland in 1659 [5]
  • Henry Caswell, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [5]
  • Mary Caswell, who arrived in Maryland in 1679 [5]
  • Edward Caswell, who landed in Maryland in 1679 [5]
Caswell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hannah Caswell, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [5]
  • Susannah Caswell, who arrived in New England in 1727 [5]
  • Margaret Caswell, who landed in New England in 1730 [5]
Caswell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Caswell, aged 39, who landed in Delaware in 1812 [5]
  • Dominico Caswell, who arrived in New York in 1831 [5]

Canada Caswell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Caswell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Caswell, who arrived in New Brunswick in 1783
  • Mr. Joseph Caswell U.E. born in Massachusetts, USA who settled in Kingston, Kings County, New Brunswick c. 1783 listed as passenger on the Union Transport [6]
  • Mr. Lemuel Caswell U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1783 [6]

New Zealand Caswell migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Caswell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Caswell, (b. 1854), aged 21, English labourer from Northampton travelling from London aboard the ship "Waimate" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1875 [7]
  • Mrs. Ellen Caswell, (b. 1855), aged 20, English settler from Northampton travelling from London aboard the ship "Waimate" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1875 [7]
  • Mr. Frederick Caswell, (b. 1874), aged 5 months, English settler from Northampton travelling from London aboard the ship "Waimate" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th December 1875 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Caswell (post 1700) +

  • Oliver A. Caswell, American member of the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1872
  • Alexis Caswell (1857-1932), United States federal judge
  • Bruce Caswell (b. 1949), Republican from the U.S. state of Michigan
  • William E. Caswell (1947-2001), American physicist
  • Bill Caswell, American country music singer-songwriter and musician
  • Alexis Caswell (1799-1877), American educator
  • Burr Caswell (1807-1896), American frontiersman
  • Hollis Leland Caswell (1901-1988), American educator
  • Lucien Bonaparte Caswell (1827-1919), American politician
  • Elaine Caswell, American female singer
  • ... (Another 21 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  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. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  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. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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