Colsell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The Colsell history begins in Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Colsell history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. The Colsell family originally lived in Cornwall. Their name, however, is derived from the Old English word coll, which means hill, and indicates that the original bearer lived near such a landform. The redundancy in the name (hills hill) is likely a later addition after the initial word cole had fallen out of use and its meaning has been forgotten.
Early Origins of the Colsell family
The surname Colsell was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat from very ancient times at Tremoderet. "In the church [of Higher and Lower Tredinneck, Cornwall] which is a plain Gothic structure, there is a handsome monument of stone, sustaining a recumbent figure of a knight in armour, with an inscription to the memory of Sir John Coleshill of Tremoderet, who died in 1483." 
"The manor of Canalissey or Cannaligee, [in St. Issey, Cornwall] was in all probability the property of the Hiwis family so early as the reign of Edward III. ; since at that period they held a large estate in this parish. From them it passed by a co-heiress to the Coleshills." 
"The manor of Liskeard Coleshill [in the parish of Liskeard] was possessed by a family of this latter name in the fifteenth century." 
There are three other places named Coleshill in Britain. Coleshill is a market town in the North Warwickshire, a village and civil parish within Chiltern district in Buckinghamshire and a small village and civil parish in the Vale of White Horse district of Oxfordshire.
Of the three places, the Warwickshire town seems to be the oldest as the first listing was found in 799 as Colleshyl. By the Domesday Book in 1086, the town was listed as Coleshelle and probably was derived from the Old English River Cole + hyll as in "hill on the River Cole." 
Cowlishaw is a hamlet in the township of Crompton, in the parish of Prestwick, Lancashire. "This surname has crossed over the border into Yorkshire, and is strong there. It is Americanized as Cowlinshaw."  There are also records of the family in Cowlishaw, Derbyshire,  but recent maps show no such place.
Early History of the Colsell family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colsell research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1418, 1424 and 1427 are included under the topic Early Colsell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Colsell Spelling Variations
Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Coleshill, Colshill, Colsell, Colshull, Colshall, Cowlshaw and many more.
Early Notables of the Colsell family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Colsell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Colsell family
Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Colsell or a variant listed above: John Coleshell settled in Virginia in 1660; Anne and William Cowlishaw sailed to Salem, Massachusetts in 1630.
Related Stories +
- ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
- ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)