Sillwood History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Sillwood family

The surname Sillwood 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 Sillwood family

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

Sillwood Spelling Variations

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

Early Notables of the Sillwood family (pre 1700)

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


Australia Sillwood migration to Australia +

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

Sillwood Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Sillwood, English convict from Southampton, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [4]

New Zealand Sillwood 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:

Sillwood Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Sillwood, aged 31, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Mary Sillwood, aged 31, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Elizabeth Sillwood, aged 4, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Martha J. Sillwood, aged 2, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874
  • Mary A. Sillwood, aged 1, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Waitangi" in 1874


  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. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 151 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1823


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