Collwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Collwell was carried to England in the enormous movement of people that followed the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Collwell family lived in Colton. There are places named Colton in Staffordshire and Norfolk. The family claim descent from Gilbert de Colleville, who lived in Coleville, a town in Normandy.
Early Origins of the Collwell family
The surname Collwell was first found in Suffolk, where they held a family seat from early times. They were descended from Gilbert de Colleville (Colavilla, Colvile) from Coleville, a town between Caen and Bayeux in Normandy. He accompanied Duke William from Normandy and had two sons. 
From Gilbert and William the English Barons of Colleville are descended. William held lands in Yorkshire. His eldest son Phillip acquired the lands of Ancroft in Northumberland, and from him are descended the Lords of Colville in Scotland.
Searching other records, we found Thomas de Colevill who was listed as a witness to many documents in the late 1100s, as well as being mentioned in a perambulation of the marches of Elstaneshalche in 1181. A Thomas de Colouilla, who may or may not be the same man, was charged with treason in 1211. 
In Scotland, Ada de Coleuyll generously gave the lands of Kynnard in Fife to the monks of the Abbey of Neubotle in 1241 and Thomas de Coleville, who lived in Dumfriesshire rendered homage to King Edward I on his invasion of Scotland in 1296. Robert de Colvylle of Scotland was rewarded for extreme courage and steady obedience in 1358; he was granted an annuity of 20 marks from the customs of Kingston on Hulle. 
Richard de Collewele was listed in the Assize Rolls of Somerset in 1268 and Robert de Kolewell was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. 
Early History of the Collwell family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Collwell research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1174, 1296, 1358, 1337, 1394, 1377, 1384, 1385, 1390, 1393, 1540, 1605, 1551, 1629, 1604, 1675, 1662, 1675, 1690, 1813, 1898 and 1871 are included under the topic Early Collwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Collwell 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 Colville, Coleville, Colevile, Colwell, Colwill, Collwell, Collwill, Colewell, Colewill, Caulville, Caulwell and many more.
Early Notables of the Collwell family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir John Colville (c.1337-1394), of Newton, Cambridgeshire and Walsoken, Norfolk, Member of the Parliament for Cambridgeshire in 1377, 1384, 1385, 1390 and 1393; John Colville (c.1540-1605), a Scottish clergyman, judge, politician and author who was implicated in the Earl of Bothwell's attack on Holyrood Palace, and was outlawed with the earl, he died in exile in Paris; James Colville (1551-1629), 1st Lord Colville of Culross in 1604; William Colvill, (Colville) (died 1675), a Scottish clergyman and scholar and was the Principal of the University of Edinburgh (1662 to 1675); Daniel Colwall (died 1690)...
Another 112 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Collwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Collwell family to Ireland
Some of the Collwell 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.
Migration of the Collwell 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 Collwell or a variant listed above: John Colvil who settled in New Hampshire in 1718; Matuerin Colvill settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1762; Joseph and Cathy Colville settled in New Jersey in 1804.
- Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
- Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- 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)