Selwood History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Selwood family

The surname Selwood was first found in Somerset at Selwood which dates back to c. 894 where it was listed as Seluudu and probably meant "wood where swallow-trees grow." [1]

The ancient Selwood Forest ran approximately between Gillingham in Dorset and Chippenham in Wiltshire. Ælfgar of Selwood was a saint venerated at a chapel in the forest of Selwood.

One source notes the name denotes a "dweller at Selwood (the forest on the borders of Wilts and Somerset), the Anglo-Saxon Seal wudu (Anglo- Saxon Chronicles, A.D. 894), Seal wydu (A.D. 878) = apparently the 'Willow-Wood' [Old English seal, a willow or sallow]; but Asser, in his Life of Ælfred, translated Seluudu as Silva Magna in Latin and Coit Maur (mod. Coed Mawr) in Welsh, i.e. 'Great Wood,' as if the first element of the Anglo-Saxon wood-name were the Old English sél, ' good,' and its meaning could be extended to signify 'great.'" [2]

Alternatively, the name could have derived from Selworthy, also in Somerset, a small village and civil parish in the hundred of Carhampton which dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Seleuurde and literally meant "enclosure or settlement near sallow-trees" from the Old English sele + worth [1]. At that time the lands were held by Ralph de Limesy.

Early feudal rolls provided the king of the time a method of cataloguing holdings for taxation, but today they provide a glimpse into the wide surname spellings in use at that time. John Selewode was recorded in 1189 and later Richard de Selwode was listed in London in 1339. [3]

Early History of the Selwood family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Selwood research. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1189, 1339, 1700 and 1773 are included under the topic Early Selwood History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Selwood Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Silwood, Sillwood, Selwood, Sellwood, Sellworthy, Silworthy and many more.

Early Notables of the Selwood family (pre 1700)

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


United States Selwood migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Selwood Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Selwood, who arrived in America in 1685
Selwood Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Sara Selwood, who settled in Virginia in 1718
  • Elizabeth Selwood, who settled in America in 1753
  • Sarah Selwood, who settled in America in 1775
Selwood Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Wm. Selwood, who arrived in Baltimore in 1821

Canada Selwood migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Selwood Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Arch. E. Selwood, who settled in Canada in 1908

Australia Selwood migration to Australia +

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

Selwood Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Selwood, English convict who was convicted in Surrey, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 18th June 1835, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [4]
  • Mr. William Selwood, (b. 1839), aged 21, Cornish labourer travelling aboard the ship "Hannah More" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 6th May 1860 [5]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Mary Selwood, (b. 1842), aged 18, Cornish settler travelling aboard the ship "Hannah More" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 6th May 1860 [5]

New Zealand Selwood 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:

Selwood Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Selwood, American settler travelling from Honolulu aboard the ship "Tyrian" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 29th October 1851 [6]
  • Miss Eliza Selwood, (b. 1836), aged 27, British nurse travelling from London aboard the ship 'Mermaid' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 16th February 1864 [7]
  • Mr. A. Selwood, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Siberia" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 21st February 1870 [6]

West Indies Selwood migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [8]
Selwood Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • William Selwood, who settled in Antigua (Antego) in 1766

Contemporary Notables of the name Selwood (post 1700) +

  • Maureen Selwood (b. 1946), Irish-born American filmmaker and visual artist
  • Dominic Selwood FSA FRSA FRHistS (b. 1970), English historian, journalist, historical fiction and historical thriller author and barrister
  • Timothy Selwood (1944-2021), English cricketer who played for Middlesex as an opening batsman (1966 to 1973)
  • Steven Andrew Selwood (b. 1979), former English cricketer who played for Derbyshire between 2001 and 2004
  • C.H.V. Selwood, New Zealand member of the crew of the Discovery during the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE) of 1929–1931, eponym of Mount Selwood, Antarctica
  • Bradley Wayne Selwood (b. 1948), Canadian former General Manager and head coach of the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League from Leamington, Ontario
  • Troy Selwood (b. 1984), former Australian rules footballer who played 75 games for the Brisbane Lions
  • Adam Murray Selwood (b. 1984), former Australian rules footballer who played for the West Coast Eagles
  • Scott Francis Selwood (b. 1990), former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the West Coast Eagles and Geelong Football Club
  • Joel Anthony Selwood (b. 1988), professional Australian rules footballer playing for the Geelong Football Club


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 19). Emigrants to Australia NSW 1860 -88 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/nsw_passenger_lists_1860_88.pdf
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies


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