Elwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Elwell name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having lived near a holy spring having derived from the Old English terms halli, which meant holy, and welle, which meant spring. [1]

There are several place-names that are also derived from these words, including Halliwell in Lancashire, Holwell in Dorset and Oxfordshire, and Holywell and Northumberland.

Early Origins of the Elwell family

The surname Elwell was first found in Lancashire at Halliwell, a township, and ecclesiastical district, in the parish of Deane, union of Bolton, hundred of Salford. " The first mention of Halliwell occurs in the 17th year of the reign of John, when the abbot of Cockersand had an exemption from fines and amerciaments, by a charter of that date from the king." [2]

Hollowell is a hamlet, in the parish and hundred of Guilsborough, union of Brixworth, S. division of the county of Northampton. "The former of these two places has made Halliwell a familiar surname in South Lancashire." [3]

However, by the time of the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 the name was scattered throughout ancient Britain: Adam de Holewell, Norfolk; Simon de Holewell, Bedfordshire; John de Holowell, Buckinghamshire; Godfrey de Haliwell, London; and Richard de Holewell, Huntingdonshire. [3]

In Somerset, John de Holewell and Edith atte Holywelle were both listed 1 Edward III (in other words during the first year of King Edward III's reign). [4]

Further to the south in Devon, the Testa de Nevill, sive Liber Feodorum, temp. Henry III- Edward I listed William de Halegewelle.

Later in Scotland, Halywell is mentioned in Berwick Retours and Thomas de Halywell was superior of the Abbey of Kelso in 1465. "Robert Halywell was notary public in St. Andrews diocese, 1473. Thomas Halywell, a Scot born at Grynlawe, in 1480 had letters of denization in England, John Halywell was killed in 1535 and William Halywell was burgess of Linlithgow, 1537." [5]

Early History of the Elwell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Elwell research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1535, 1548, 1564, 1649, 1686, 1655, 1676, 1744 and 1676 are included under the topic Early Elwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Elwell Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Elwell has undergone many spelling variations, including Halliwell, Halligwell, Haliwell and others.

Early Notables of the Elwell family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Oibert Halliwell of Halliwell; and Edward Halliwell, English fellow of King's College, Cambridge from 1535 to 1548 who wrote the lost tragedy, Dido, which was performed before Queen Elizabeth I during her royal visit to the university on 7 August 1564. John Holwell (1649-1686) was an English astrologer and mathematician. He claimed descent from the Holwells of Holwell House, near Tavistock, Devon, and his father and...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Elwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Elwell migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Elwell were among those contributors:

Elwell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Elwell, who landed in Salem, Massachusetts in 1640 [6]
Elwell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Elwell, who arrived in New York, NY in 1835 [6]
  • Mr. Elwell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]
  • D A Elwell, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [6]
  • Jane Elwell, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Elwell (post 1700) +

  • Clarence Edward Elwell (1904-1973), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Herbert Elwell (1898-1974), American composer and music critic
  • Dennis P. Elwell (b. 1945), American politician, Mayor of Secaucus, New Jersey
  • Don Elwell (b. 1952), American playwright, director, novelist, teacher, and futurist
  • Francis Edwin Elwell (1858-1922), American sculptor
  • Stuart Elwell (b. 1977), English professional boxer
  • Keith Elwell, English former professional rugby league footballer
  • Dennis Elwell (b. 1930), British astrologer, journalist, author, and lecturer
  • W. Elwell Goldsborough, American politician, U.S. Consul in Amoy, 1884 [7]
  • Edward Elwell Spafford (1878-1941), American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 14th District, 1930 [8]

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Royal Elwell, American Seaman First Class from Texas, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [9]


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, 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. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. 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. ^ 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)
  7. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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