Show ContentsColville History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Colville is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The Colville 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 Colville family

The surname Colville 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. [1]

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. [2]

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. [3]

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. [2]

Early History of the Colville family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colville 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 Colville History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Colville Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Colville, Coleville, Colevile, Colwell, Colwill, Collwell, Collwill, Colewell, Colewill, Caulville, Caulwell and many more.

Early Notables of the Colville 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 Colville Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Colville family to Ireland

Some of the Colville 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.

United States Colville migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Colville name or one of its variants:

Colville Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Colville, who arrived in Virginia in 1756 [4]
Colville Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jos Colville, who landed in America in 1804 [4]
  • Joseph and Cathy Colville, who settled in New Jersey in 1804
  • Cath Colville, who landed in America in 1804 [4]
  • Robert Colville, who arrived in America in 1850 [4]
  • William Colville, who landed in America in 1851 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Colville migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Colville Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Colville U.E. who settled in Saint Stephen, New Brunswick c. 1783; part of the Port Matoon Association [5]

Australia Colville migration to Australia +

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

Colville Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Colville, Scottish convict who was convicted in Perth, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Equestrian" on 30th June 1845, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [6]
  • Thomas Colville, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Himalaya" in 1849 [7]

New Zealand Colville 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:

Colville Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J Colville, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Bengal Merchant [8]
  • John Colville, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840 [9]
  • Mr. J. Colville, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" arriving in Port Nicholson, (Wellington Harbour), New Zealand on 20th February 1840 [10]
  • John Colville, who landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1843
  • D. Colville, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Palmyra" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 19th February 1858 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Colville (post 1700) +

  • Andrew Colville (1779-1856), London governor of the Hudson's Bay Company
  • James Colville, English footballer who played in the late 1800s
  • Sir John Rupert "Jock" Colville (1915-1987), English Assistant Private Secretary to three Prime Ministers
  • Lady Margaret Colville (1886-1975), English judge
  • Sir Henry Edward Colville (1852-1907), English army Major-General
  • Mr. William Colville, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1526 to 1527
  • John Colville JP (1852-1901), Scottish businessman and Liberal politician
  • Colonel the Hon. Sir David John Colville PC GCIE (1894-1954), 1st Baron Clydesmuir, a Scottish Unionist politician, and industrialist, Secretary of State for Scotland
  • Matthew Lamont "Mac" Colville (1916-2003), Canadian professional NHL ice hockey right winger for the New York Rangers between 1935 and 1947, winning the Stanley Cup in 1940
  • Neil McNeil Colville (1914-1987), Canadian professional ice hockey player, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1967
  • ... (Another 6 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. 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
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th May 2022).
  7. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The HIMALAYA 1849. Retrieved from
  8. Shadow Time Settlers (Retrieved 5th November 2010), retrieved from
  9. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  10. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook