Oswel History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The Oswel family name comes from a place name that was first used among the Viking settlers who arrived in the shores of Scotland in the Middle Ages. The Oswel name comes from someone having lived in Caithness. This ancient family claim descent from the Norse Asbaldr, but sometimes records show that the name may have been derived from the personal name Oswald which is made up of the Old English elements os meaning "god," and weald or "rule." 
"The most famous historical bearer of this name was the Northumbrian Christian King Oswald who fell A.D. 642 in a battle with Penda, king of the Mercians. This battle is traditionally reputed to have taken place at or near Oswestry, formerly Oswaldestre, i.e. Oswald's Cross, which the Welsh called by their equivalent Croes Oswallt. The locality does not, however, seem to be a likely one for a conflict between Northumbrian and Mercian troops. " 
"When his father was defeated and slain by Rædwald in 617, he and his brothers were driven out of Northumbria, and Oswald, accompanied by a band of young nobles, took shelter with the Scots in Iona, where he was converted to Christianity and baptised. " 
Early Origins of the Oswel family
The surname Oswel was first found in Caithness (Gaelic: Gallaibh), the northern tip of Scotland, a Norse/Viking controlled region from the 9th century, which became the Earldom of Caithness, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.
"The Oswalds of Caithness are descended from James Oswald of Kirkwall, d.c. 1660, and a family of this name has been for more than two centuries resident in Fife." 
To the south in England, it was "a very early personal name; compare Oswald Kirk, a parish in Yorkshire. 'Osewold the Reve': Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales." 
Looking back further the Domesday Book of 1086 includes early Latin forms of the name Osuuald, Osuuoldus in Somerset and Surrey respectively. Robertus filius Oswaldi was found in Norfolk in 1240 and much later, John Oswald was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1327. 
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Simon Aswald, Oxfordshire, 1273 and the Writs of Parliament of 1325 included John Oswald, Gloucestershire, 1325. 
Early History of the Oswel family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Oswel research. Another 107 words (8 lines of text) covering the year 1890 is included under the topic Early Oswel History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Oswel Spelling Variations
Translation and spelling were non-standardized practices in the Middle Ages, so scribes had only their ears to rely on. This was a practice of extremely limited efficiency, and spelling variations in names, even within a single document, were the result. Over the years, Oswel has appeared Oswald, Oswalde, Oswold, Oswolde, Oswell and others.
Early Notables of the Oswel family
Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Oswald of Worcester (d. 972), Archbishop of York from 972 to his death in 992. He was a nephew on his father's side of Archbishop Odo, and related to Oskytel, Archbishop of York, was brought up under the care of Odo, and was instructed by Frithefode. "Having taken orders, he was enabled by Odo's liberality to purchase the monastery of Winchester, then in the hands of secular clerks or canons, over whom he ruled. Being zealous in piety and persuaded of the excellence of monastic life, he was discontented with his life as...
Another 115 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oswel Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Oswel family to Ireland
Some of the Oswel family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 63 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 Oswel family
The fertile east coast of what would become US and Canada was soon dotted with the farms of Scottish settlers. Some of them remained faithful to the crown and called themselves United Empire Loyalists, while others had the chance to pay back their old oppressors in the American War of Independence. That brave spirit lives on today in the highland games that dot North America in the summer. Passenger and immigration lists indicate that members of the Oswel family came to North America quite early: Henry Oswald who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1732; Barbara Oswald settled in New York state in 1835; Joseph Oswell settled in Virginia in 1716..
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Forti favet coelum
Motto Translation: Heaven favours the brave
- Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
- Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
- Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- 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)
- Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)