Heliwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Heliwell is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Heliwell family once 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 Heliwell family

The surname Heliwell 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. [5]

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." [6]

Early History of the Heliwell family

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

Heliwell Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Heliwell family name include Halliwell, Halligwell, Haliwell and others.

Early Notables of the Heliwell 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 Heliwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Heliwell family

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Heliwell surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Richard Halliwell settled in New York State in 1774.



  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. ^ Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  6. ^ 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)


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