Show ContentsShewell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Shewell name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having lived in any of the places named Sewell, Showell, Seawell, and Sywell in England. Shewell is a local surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. There are a variety of types of local surnames, some of which include: topographic surnames, which could be given to a person who lived beside any physical feature, such as a hill, stream, church or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. It is also possible that the surname Shewell is a patronymic surname, which derives from the Old English given name Siwal(d). This surname is composed of the elements sige, sæ and weard, which mean victory, sea, and rule, respectively.

Early Origins of the Shewell family

The surname Shewell was first found in Warwickshire where the earliest record of the name was Sewallis, a "noble Saxon" who possessed Lower Eatington before the Norman Conquest. Sewallis was an ancient personal name and was not uncommon in Saxon times. [1]

Girart de Sevele was listed in Normandy in 1180 and the Rotuli Hundredorum lists Roger Sevale in England c. 1272. [2]

Two references claim that four different listings of the name were found in Warwickshire the Domesday Book, our translation [3] only listed one Sewell, in Bedfordshire as land held by the King that was originally belonging to the Odecrooft hundred but Ralph Taillebois added it to the manor of Houghton Regis with King William's consent.

Today Sewell, is a hamlet located in central Bedfordshire and is still in the Houghton Regis civil parish.

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had quite a few listings for the name as a forename and as a surname: Sewallus de Cleton, Hertfordshire; Sewale de Retcote, Oxfordshire; Robert filius Sew, Norfolk; Thomas Sewald, Oxfordshire; and Godard Sewale, Cambridgeshire. [4]

Early History of the Shewell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Shewell research. Another 166 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1150, 1366, 1257, 1393, 1393, 1688, 1643, 1701, 1652, 1730, 1667, 1671, 1674, 1676, 1654, 1720 and 1654 are included under the topic Early Shewell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Shewell Spelling Variations

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Shewell has undergone many spelling variations, including Sewell, Shewel, Sewel, Sewall, Shewall, Shewal and many more.

Early Notables of the Shewell family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Sewall de Bovill (d. 1257), Archbishop of York, a pupil at Oxford of St. Edmund (Rich), the future Archbishop of Canterbury. John Suell (fl. 1393), was an English politician, Member of the Parliament of England for Totnes in 1393. Gabriel Saywell (died 1688), was rector of Pentridge, Dorset; and his son, William Saywell (1643-1701), was an English churchman and academic, known as a controversialist, Archdeacon of Ely, and Master of Jesus College, Cambridge. Samuel Sewall (1652-1730), was "a colonist and judge, son of Henry Sewall and Jane, daughter of Stephen Dummer, born at Bishopstoke, Hampshire. Emigrating in childhood...
Another 111 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Shewell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Shewell family to Ireland

Some of the Shewell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 41 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 Shewell migration to the United States +

To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Shewell were among those contributors:

Shewell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Sam Shewell, who landed in Virginia in 1653 [5]
  • Johns Shewell, who landed in Virginia in 1661 [5]
  • Jonathan Shewell, who landed in Maryland in 1678 [5]
  • Samuel Shewell, who arrived in Maryland in 1678 [5]
  • Mary Shewell, who landed in Maryland in 1678 [5]
Shewell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Richard Shewell, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [5]
  • Walter Shewell, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [5]
  • Katherine Shewell, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [5]
  • Jonas Shewell, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [5]
  • Elinor Shewell, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Shewell (post 1700) +

  • Debbie Shewell, American producer, known for An Unsuitable Job for a Woman and Waking the Dead
  • L.R. Shewell, American writer, known for the silent film The Shadows of a Great City (1915)
  • Tanya Thornton Shewell (b. 1944), American politician, member of the Maryland House of Delegates (2004-2011)
  • Eryn Shewell, American jazz and blues guitarist and vocalist
  • Oliver Shewell Franks (1905-1992), Baron Franks, an English public servant and philosopher

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  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) on Facebook