Passwater History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Passwater surname comes from the medieval family name Passelewe, which is derived from the Old French words "passe," meaning "to pass," and "l’ewe," or "the water;" thus it was likely originally a nickname for a ferry operator or a merchant, who often crossed the water. It may also have been used as a topographic name for someone who lived on the opposite side of a watercourse from the main settlement.

Early Origins of the Passwater family

The surname Passwater was first found in Berkshire, where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, Radulfus Passaqua is listed in the Domesday Book and Ralph Passelewa is shown at Bury in Suffolk in 1104-6.

Early History of the Passwater family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Passwater research. Another 171 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1194, 1273, 1327, 1439, 1450, 1511, 1524, 1585, and 1637 are included under the topic Early Passwater History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Passwater Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Parslow, Perslow, Parslew, Farslew, Parsley, Paslow, Paslie, Pasley, Pashley, Pashler, Paslew, Pashley, Pasley, Passley, Pashlie, Paslie, Passlie, Parsloe, Paslew, Passwater, Passleigh, Paslegh, Parslowe, Passlewmede, Passlaw and many more.

Early Notables of the Passwater family (pre 1700)

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


United States Passwater migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Passwater Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • James Passwater, aged 69, who arrived in America, in 1921

Contemporary Notables of the name Passwater (post 1700) +

  • Richard "Dick" Passwater (b. 1925), retired American racecar driver who raced in NASCAR and USAC


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)


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