Dowswell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Dowswell family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found in a region called Doda's well or spring. The surname Dowswell is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came.

Early Origins of the Dowswell family

The surname Dowswell was first found in Gloucestershire at Dowdeswell, an ancient Saxon village that dates back to the 8th century when it was known as Gogodeswellan. By the time of the Domesday Book of 1086, it was known as Dodesuuelle. [1] The place name literally means "spring or stream of a man called Dogod," from the Old English personal name + "wella." [2]

The first record of the family was found here when William de Dowdeswelle was listed as a Knights Templar in 1185. [3] Years later, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed William de Doudeswell, Oxfordshire and Robert de Doudeswell, Gloucestershire. [4]

Early History of the Dowswell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dowswell research. Another 45 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1601, 1673, 1660, 1683, 1678, 1682, 1728, 1712, 1722, 1648, 1641, 1711 and 1784 are included under the topic Early Dowswell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dowswell Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Dowswell include Dodswell, Dodwell, Dodswall, Dodwall and others.

Early Notables of the Dowswell family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Richard Dowdeswell (1601-1673), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1660, an active Royalist in the...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dowswell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Dowswell family to Ireland

Some of the Dowswell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 138 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia Dowswell migration to Australia +

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

Dowswell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Jane Dowswell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Princess Royal" in 1848 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dowswell (post 1700) +

  • James S. Dowswell, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Wayne County 10th District, 1954 [6]
  • Paul Dowswell, British writer of over 60 books of non-fiction and fiction for children and young adults


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PRINCESS ROYAL 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848PrincessRoyal.htm
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 22) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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