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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The ancient history of the Bedwell name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in Bidwell, Hertfordshire. This place name derives from the Old English words "byde," meaning "tub," and "well," meaning a "spring," or "stream." As such, Bedwell is classed as a habitational name.


The surname Bedwell was first found in Bedfordshire (Old English: Bedanfordscir), located in Southeast-central England, formerly part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, where Bidwell was said to be a picturesque hamlet lying to the north-west of Houghton village. There is an early record of a Stephen de Bedewellin in Essex in the Calendar of the Close Rolls, in 1229.

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 Bedwell include Bedwell, Bedwel, Bedewell, Bidwell, Bidewell and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bedwell research. Another 225 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1323, 1388, 1420, 1561, 1589, 1595, and 1632 are included under the topic Early Bedwell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bedwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Bedwell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 311 words (22 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled 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 ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Bedwell or a variant listed above:

Bedwell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Bedwell, who came to Somers Islands in 1662
  • Elizabeth Bedwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1664
  • Elizabeth Bedwell, who landed in Virginia in 1664

Bedwell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Mary Bedwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Mary Bedwell, who came to Virginia in 1704
  • Henry Bedwell, who came to Pennsylvania in 1773

Bedwell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • G. W. Bedwell, who was on record in Philadelphia in 1822

Bedwell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • John Henry Bedwell arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Pegasus" in 1865


  • Frederick Bedwell (1796-1853), English Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy, one of the party that took Napoleon I of France to his banishment on the island of Saint Helena
  • Simon Bedwell (b. 1963), English visual artist
  • Edward Parker Bedwell (1834-1919), English Staff Commander in the Royal Navy
  • Steve Bedwell, Australian comedian and comedy writer


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  1. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  2. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  3. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  4. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  11. ...

The Bedwell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bedwell Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 7 December 2014 at 00:40.

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