Show ContentsCordwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Cordwell was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Cordwell family lived in Wiltshire, after arriving from the cantor of Cardville, or Cardunville, near Caen, Normandy. [1] The place name literally means "thistly estate [Old French cordon (mod. chardon), a thistle, from Latin cardu-us + French ville." [2]

Early Origins of the Cordwell family

The surname Cordwell was first found in Derbyshire where the Pipe Rolls of 1195 list Adam de Caldewella as holding lands there at that time. "Ernald de Cardunville held a fief from the See of Lincoln, 1165, and Peter de Cardeville from the barony of Estoteville, York [3]. Paganus de Cardeville had a grant in Hereford 1156. Walter de Cardeville was witness, 1170, to a charter in Lincoln. Richard de Cardeville was witness (13th cent.) to a charter of the Bishop of Winchester." [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had only one listing for the family: William de Cardevile who held lands in Wiltshire. [4]

The Testa de Nevill, sive Liber Feodorum, temp. Henry III-Edward I included an entry for Richard de Cardevill, Southamptonshire, Henry III-Edward I. [5]

In Yorkshire, Richard de Coldewell was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 and a few years later, Richard Cauldwell was listed there in 1381. [6]

Early History of the Cordwell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cordwell research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1066, 1606 and are included under the topic Early Cordwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cordwell Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval 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. The name has been spelled Cardwell, Cardville, Cairdwell, Cairdville, Cardvell, Cartwell, Cardvill, Cartville, Kartwell, Kardwell, Kartville, Kardville, Kairdwell and many more.

Early Notables of the Cordwell family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Cordwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cordwell family to Ireland

Some of the Cordwell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Cordwell migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Cordwell or a variant listed above:

Cordwell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Margarett Cordwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1664 [7]
  • Wrn, Cordwell Sr., who arrived in Virginia in 1664 [7]
Cordwell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Cordwell, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [7]
Cordwell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Cordwell, who arrived in America in 1800 [7]
  • Peter Cordwell, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1873 [7]

Canada Cordwell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cordwell Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • William Cordwell, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750

Australia Cordwell migration to Australia +

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

Cordwell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Cordwell, (b. 1811), aged 19, English tinker who was convicted in Essex, England for life for house breaking, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 20th August 1830, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [8]
  • Mr. John Cordwell, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Barossa" on 9th May 1844, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cordwell (post 1700) +

  • Harry Cordwell (1922-1995), American two-time Academy Awards nominated set decorator
  • Norah Mignon Cordwell (1893-1983), birth name of Norah Blaney, an American music hall performer, best known for her rendition of "Oh! Mr Porter"
  • T.S. Cordwell, Australian radio officer at Wilkes Station in 1961, eponym of Mount Cordwell, Antarctica
  • Belinda Jane Cordwell (b. 1965), New Zealand sports commentator and a former professional tennis player

The Cordwell Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Agissez honnetement
Motto Translation: Act honestly

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. Liber Niger Scutarii ("Black Book of the Exchequer"), containing reports by county on feudal holdings in England in 1166 (reign of Henry II)
  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)
  5. Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  6. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. 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)
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th February 2021). Retrieved from
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th September 2020). Retrieved from on Facebook