Rothwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Rothwell first arose amongst the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from their having lived in Rothwell, a place-name found in the counties of Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, and the West Riding of Yorkshire. [1] The place-name Rothwell is derived from the Old English words roth, which means forest clearing, and wella, which means spring or stream. The place-name as a whole translates as "spring or stream in the summer clearing." [2] In the Domesday Book, [3] compiled in 1086, each of those places was originally listed as Rodewelle.

Early Origins of the Rothwell family

The surname Rothwell was first found in Lincolnshire where one of the first listings of the family was Robert de Rothewelle who was listed there in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. Later in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls, Johanna de Rothewell and Johannes de Rothewell were listed. [1]

Early History of the Rothwell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Rothwell research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1563, 1627 and 1640 are included under the topic Early Rothwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Rothwell Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Rothwell has appeared include Rothwell, Rathwell, Rosswell, Rosewell and others.

Early Notables of the Rothwell family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Richard Rothwell, the exorcist, who was born at Bolton (now in Greater Manchester) in 1563. [4] He died in 1627 and was "known as "Bold Rothwell, the Apostle of the North," and famed as an exorcist, who professed to have wonderful contests...
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Rothwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Rothwell family to Ireland

Some of the Rothwell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Rothwell migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Rothwell arrived in North America very early:

Rothwell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Rothwell who settled with her husband in New England in 1654
  • Jane Rothwell, who landed in Maryland in 1657 [5]
  • William Rothwell, who arrived in Maryland in 1681 [5]
  • James and Hesta Rothwell, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1685
  • Hester Rothwell, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1685 [5]
Rothwell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Rothwell, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1807
  • James Rothwell, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [5]

Australia Rothwell migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Rothwell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Rothwell, British Convict who was convicted in Lancaster, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land)1836 [6]
  • William Rothwell, aged 33, a smith, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Ostrich" [7]
  • Ann Rothwell, aged 20, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Warren Hastings"
  • Samuel Rothwell, aged 31, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Lady Ann"
  • Sarah Rothwell, aged 30, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Lady Ann"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Rothwell migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Rothwell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Rothwell, (b. 1804), aged 38, British agricultural labourer and sawyer travelling from London and Plymouth aboard the ship "Thomas Sparks" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1843, the ship stuck rocks of the coast of Cape of Good Hope delaying her landing by 2 months [8]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Rothwell, (b. 1807), aged 35, British settler travelling from London and Plymouth aboard the ship "Thomas Sparks" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1843, the ship stuck rocks of the coast of Cape of Good Hope delaying her landing by 2 months [8]
  • Mr. Richard Rothwell, (b. 1835), aged 7, British settler travelling from London and Plymouth aboard the ship "Thomas Sparks" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1843, the ship stuck rocks of the coast of Cape of Good Hope delaying her landing by 2 months [8]
  • Mr. Joseph Rothwell, (b. 1840), aged 2, British settler travelling from London and Plymouth aboard the ship "Thomas Sparks" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1843, the ship stuck rocks of the coast of Cape of Good Hope delaying her landing by 2 months [8]
  • Mr. James Rothwell, (b. 1842), aged Infant, British settler travelling from London and Plymouth aboard the ship "Thomas Sparks" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1843, the ship stuck rocks of the coast of Cape of Good Hope delaying her landing by 2 months [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Rothwell (post 1700) +

  • Michael Rothwell (b. 1953), American sailor
  • Ben Rothwell (b. 1981), American mixed martial artist
  • Benjamin "Ben" Rothwell Jr. (1902-1979), American boxer
  • Henry Phillip Rothwell (d. 1940), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wyoming, 1932 [9]
  • Gideon Frank Rothwell (1836-1894), American Democrat politician, U.S. Representative from Missouri 10th District, 1879-81 [9]
  • Fountain Rothwell, American politician, U.S. Collector of Customs, 1941 [9]
  • Fount Rothwell, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Missouri, 1912 [9]
  • Talbot Nelson Conn Rothwell OBE (1916-1981), English screenwriter from Bromley, Kent, prisoner of war during World War II after being shot down over Norway, close friend of Peter Butterworth, the English comedy actor and comedian
  • Squadron Leader Peter Rothwell (1920-2010), English bomber pilot in World War II from Bristol, recipient of the Award of the George Cross to Malta
  • Herbert Rothwell (b. 1880), English footballer
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Frederick Rothwell, British Ordinary Signalman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [11]


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1835
  7. ^ South Australian Register Saturday 22nd July 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Ostrich 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/ostrich1854.shtml
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  11. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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