Harwel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Harwel is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Harwel family lived in Harivel which is "very common in Normandy. It is synonymous with Haridelle, still found in our modem dictionaries. 'Harivels,' or 'harivilliers,' are frequently seen at our fairs; they are persons dealing only in 'harins' or 'haridelles,' small or inferior horses, leaving the trade in riding horses and animals of a superior quality to the regular horse dealers.' There exists, however, an aristocratic family named Le Harivel, that is found in Normandy as early as the fifteenth century, and once possessed several important fiefs, such as Sourdeval, Beaumanoir, Maizet, Gonneville, Flagy, &c. It furnished proofs of its nobility in 1463, and in 1671 was again declared Estre noble par charte de franc-fiefs. " [1]

Harwell is a parish, in the union of Wantage, hundred of Moreton, Berkshire. Now part of Oxfordshire, this parish dates back to Saxon times when it was known as Haranwylle in 956. [2] By the time of the Domesday Book of 1086, it was known as Harvvelle. [3]

Harwell is also a parish of Everton, union of East Retford, North Clay division of the wapentake of Bassetlaw, N. division of the county of Nottingham. [4]

The place name literally means "spring or stream by the hill called Hara (the grey one)." [2]

Early Origins of the Harwel family

The surname Harwel was first found in Somerset where "John de Harewell was chaplain to Edward the Black Prince, Chancellor of Gascony, and Bishop of Wells. He lies buried before the altar of St. Calix in Wells Cathedral. " [1]

"A Cecilia de Harewell, and her son Robert are mentioned in 1202 in Oxfordshire (Rotuli Cancellarii): but I cannot find that the name occurs there again." [5]

Another source notes that an early Latin form of the name, Cecilia de Harewella was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire in 1194. The same source also notes Thomas de Harwell in London in 1325-1326 and John Harwell in the Feet of Fines of Warwickshire 1496-1497. [6]

Early History of the Harwel family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harwel research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600, 1043, 1352, 1486, 1566, 1455 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Harwel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harwel Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Harewell, Harwell, Harwall, Harewall and others.

Early Notables of the Harwel family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Harwel family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Harwel or a variant listed above: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..



  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. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  6. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)


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