Harwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Harwell is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Harwell 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 Harwell family

The surname Harwell 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 Harwell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harwell 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 Harwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Harwell Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Harwell are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Harwell include Harewell, Harwell, Harwall, Harewall and others.

Early Notables of the Harwell family (pre 1700)

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

Harwell Ranking

In the United States, the name Harwell is the 4,177th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [7]


United States Harwell migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Harwell, or a variant listed above:

Harwell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Harwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • John Harwell, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [8]
  • Robert Harwell, who landed in Virginia in 1658 [8]

Canada Harwell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Harwell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Wilson Harwell, who settled in Ontario, Canada in 1824

West Indies Harwell migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [9]
Harwell Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Samuel Harwell, who settled in Barbados in 1679

Contemporary Notables of the name Harwell (post 1700) +

  • Bobby Rhea Harwell (1931-2017), American actor and producer
  • Steve Harwell (b. 1967), lead vocalist for the pop band Smash Mouth
  • J. A. Harwell, American baseball coach
  • Ernie Harwell (1918-2010), American sportscaster
  • Vicky Harwell, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Tennessee, 2008 [10]
  • S. J. Harwell, American politician, Mayor of Adel, Georgia, 1916-19, 1921-26 [10]
  • Heather Harwell, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from California, 2008, 2012 [10]
  • Donald G. Harwell, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1972 [10]
  • Beth H. Harwell (b. 1957), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Tennessee, 2004, 2008; Member of Tennessee State House of Representatives 56th District, 2007 [10]


  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)
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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