Doswell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The prestigious surname Doswell came to Britain with the Norman invasion of 1066. It is thought that the surname originated in Beauzeville, France, and that Elias de Boesevilla of this region was the first Norman settler to Britain. Many of these Norman families moved north, into Scotland in the period following the Norman Conquest of England. [1]

Early Origins of the Doswell family

The surname Doswell was first found in Yorkshire, where Sir Ralph Boswell of Guntwaite, a descendant of Elias de Boesevilla, the first settler from Normandy, held lands. In the 12th century Sir Ralph lost his Yorkshire estates to the Earls of Warenne. "The family were in England in 1136, and probably from the period of the Conquest." [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: John de Bosevil, Yorkshire; and Henry de Bosevil, Northamptonshire while the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included Agnes Bosseuill as holding lands there at that time. [3]

In Norfolk, record there show Robert de Bosewill, or Bosville, 1360; Walkcline de Bosevile, 1199; Isabell Boswel, 1464; and William Boswell, 1620. [4]

The family moved north to Scotland at the invitation of David, Earl of Huntingdon, where they settled in Berwickshire at Edenham. "The first of the name in Scotland was Robert de Boseuille, who witnessed several charters in the earlier part of the reign of William the Lion, and is said to have held land in Berwickshire. He was witness to a charter by Walter de Berkeley to the Abbey of Aberbrothoc c. 1170 and to the king's confirmation of same. Between 1178-80 he witnessed gift by William the Lion of a salina in Kars to the same abbey, and last appears c. 1204 when he witnessed grant of a toft in Forfar. Paganus de Bosseuilla before 1200 gave a bovate of land in Ede nlum to the Abbey of Kelso. Henry de Boysuill witnessed a charter by John, earl of Huntingdon to Norman, son of Malcolm c. 1225. Walter de Boseville was taken prisoner at Dunbar, 1296, and William de Boseville of Berwickshire and William de Boseville of Roxburghshire rendered homage, in same year. Noteworthy, too, is the fact that the names are alike spelled 'Boyville.' William de Boswill received payment of money for Sir Alexander de Seton, 1329, and Roger de Bosseuyll or Bosvyll was custumar and burgess of Edinburgh, 1368-9. Roger de Boswell married Marietta, daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Lochore of that Ilk, about middle of fourteenth century and was first of the family settled in Fife. " [5]

Early History of the Doswell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Doswell research. Another 63 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1740, 1795, 1572, 1698, 1756, 1698, 1649, 1606 and 1633 are included under the topic Early Doswell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Doswell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Boswell, Boswall, Boseville, Boswald, Bosswald, Bosville, Boeseille, Bosvile, Bovill, Bowelle and many more.

Early Notables of the Doswell family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was Macdonald Bosville of Sleat, Chief of the MacDonalds; and James Boswell (1740-1795), famous biographer of "The Life of Dr. Johnson," the great lexicographer. John Bossewell (fl. 1572), was an English "heraldic writer, was, according to his own statement, a northern man, and probably a member of the family of Bosvile, established for many generations in the neighbourhood of Doncaster. " [6] John Boswell (1698-1756), was an English author, descended...
Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Doswell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Doswell family to Ireland

Some of the Doswell 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.


New Zealand Doswell 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:

Doswell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • G. R. Doswell, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Joseph Fletcher" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 18th August 1859 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Doswell (post 1700) +

  • F. Doswell, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arkansas, 1876 [8]


The Doswell 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: Vraye Foi
Motto Translation: True faith.


  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. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, September 15) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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