Show ContentsHewell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the name Hewell are thought to have lived among the ancient Britons, who inhabited in the hills and Moors of present day Wales. This particular surname was derived from the Welsh personal name Hoel, which was originally derived from the Old Welsh name Houel. This name was imported by Welsh settlers into the English counties bordering Wales; however, in the eastern English counties, the name was brought by Breton settlers. The Breton forms of the name were Houuel, Huwel, Huwal, and Howael.

Early Origins of the Hewell family

The surname Hewell was first found in Monmouthshire (Welsh: Sir Fynwy), where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Vychan Howel that is, Howel the Little (d. 825), was a Welsh prince, said to have been son of Rhodri, a reputed descendant of Cunedda and King of Gwynedd, or North Wales. "But Rhodri died in 754, and nothing is heard of Howel or of his brother Cynan whom the tenth-century genealogy of Owain ab Howel Dda makes son of Rhodri, until over fifty years later. Possibly they were Rhodri's grandsons, who emerge from obscurity when the downfall of the Mercian overlordship gave Welsh kings a better chance to attain to power. In 813 there was war between Howel and his brother Cynan, in which Howel conquered. It apparently arose from Cynan driving Howel out of Anglesey, and resulted in Howel's restoration in 814. In 816 Howel was again expelled, but the Saxons invaded Snowdon and slew Cynan. This probably brought Howel back again. He died in 825. The name Vychan comes from a late authority." [1]

Dda Howel, that is, Howel the Good (d. 950), the most famous of the early Welsh kings, was the son of Cadell, the son of Rhodri Mawr, through whom his pedigree was traced by a tenth-century writer up to Cunedda and thence to 'Anne, cousin of the Blessed Virgin.' [1]

Howel ab Ieuav, or Howel Ddrwg, that is, Howel The Bad (d. 984), the North Welsh prince, was the son of Ieuav, son of Idwal, who was imprisoned and deprived of his territory by his brother Iago about 969. [1]

Howel ab Edwin (d. 1044), the South Welsh prince, was son of Edwin, son of Eineon, who was the son of Owain, the eldest son and successor of Howel Dda [q. v.] [1]

Early History of the Hewell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hewell research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1300, 1313, 1588, 1650, 1644, 1645, 1625, 1679, 1657, 1660, 1593 and 1666 are included under the topic Early Hewell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Hewell Spelling Variations

There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Hewell have included Howell, Howel, Hawell, Howels, Howells, Hovell and many more.

Early Notables of the Hewell family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Rt. Rev. Thomas Howell (1588-1650), Welsh Bishop of Bristol from 1644 to 1645, born in Llangamarch, Brecknockshire; Francis Howell (1625-1679), Principal of Jesus College, Oxford from 1657 to 1660; and James Howell (c.1593-1666) famous writer who lead a colourful life...
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Hewell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Hewell family to Ireland

Some of the Hewell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Hewell family

During the latter half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the people of Wales journeyed to North America to find a new life. They made major contributions to the arts, industry and commerce of both Canada and the United States, and added a rich cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. A look at the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Hewell: Owen Howel settled who in Virginia in 1635; David Howel settled in Barbados in 1654; Humphrey Howel settled in Virginia in 1698; Morgan Howel settled in Virginia in 1653.



  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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