Show ContentsSouthwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Southwell is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Southwell family once lived in the parish of Southwell found in the county of Nottingham.

Early Origins of the Southwell family

The surname Southwell was first found in Nottinghamshire where "the family are of great antiquity as lords of Southwell, till the reign of Henry VI. They afterwards settled in Norfolk and Suffolk, whence the ancestor of Viscount Southwell removed to Ireland temp. James I." [1]

Henry de Suthwell was listed in Nottinghamshire in 1360 as was Richard Sowthwell in 1451. [2] Richard de Southwell was listed in the Feet of Fines for Norfolk in 1474. [3]

Woodrising, Norfolk was an ancient family seat. "The manor was formerly the property of the Southwell family, of whom Sir Richard was chancellor to Edward VI., and Sir Robert secretary for Ireland in the reign of Charles II." [4]

Early History of the Southwell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Southwell research. Another 68 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1504, 1561, 1564, 1592, 1595, 1598, 1607, 1623, 1626, 1631, 1635, 1637, 1665, 1667, 1671, 1676, 1677, 1678, 1682, 1688, 1689, 1690, 1695, 1697, 1698, 1702, 1713, 1717, 1720, 1729, 1730, 1766 and 1912 are included under the topic Early Southwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Southwell Spelling Variations

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Southwell family name include Southwell, Sothwell and others.

Early Notables of the Southwell family

Notables of this surname at this time include:

  • Sir Richard Southwell (1504-1564), English courtier, English Privy Councillor from Windham Manor, Norfolk. His grandfather, Sir Richard Southwell of Barham Hall, Suffolk, acquired Woodrising in Norfol...
  • Robert Southwell (c. 1561-1595), also known as Saint Robert Southwell, an English Roman Catholic priest of the Jesuit Order, canonized by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales...
  • Thomas Southwell (1592-1637), was an English Jesuit, son of Thomas Bacon and Elizabeth his wife, and elder brother of Nathanael Southwell
  • Nathaniel Southwell (1598-1676), was an English Jesuit, son of Thomas Bacon and Elizabeth his wife, and younger brother of Thomas Southwell, was born in 1598 in Norfolk, probably at Sculthorpe, near W...
  • Thomas Southwell first Baron Southwell (1667-1720), was the eldest son of Richard Southwell of Callow. [5]
  • Seth Sothel (Sothell and Southwell) (died c.1697) was an American colonial proprietor and Governor of the Province of Carolina in 1678 and later (1682-1689.) [5]

Southwell Ranking

In the United States, the name Southwell is the 15,658th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Southwell family to Ireland

Some of the Southwell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 197 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Southwell migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Southwell surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Southwell Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Susannah Southwell who settled in Maryland in 1775
Southwell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Southwell, who landed in New York in 1852 [7]
  • George and Thomas Southwell, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1855
  • John T Southwell, who arrived in Mississippi in 1859 [7]
  • Joseph Southwell, who landed in Arkansas in 1882 [7]

Canada Southwell migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Southwell Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Southwell, who settled in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1830 [8]
  • James Southwell, aged 21, who landed in Montreal in 1841
  • William Southwell in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1844 [8]
  • William Southwell of Upper Small Point (now Kingston) settled in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1871 [8]

Australia Southwell migration to Australia +

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

Southwell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Southwell, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Princess Royal" in 1848 [9]
  • James Southwell, aged 31, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Caucasian" [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Southwell (post 1700) +

  • Maureen Southwell, American Democratic Party politician, Presidential Elector for California, 1996 [11]
  • Edward Southwell (1705-1755), Irish politician from King's Weston, Gloucestershire
  • Robert Southwell (1561-1595), English Jesuit priest and poet
  • Sir Richard Southwell (1503-1564), English Privy Councillor
  • Thomas Southwell (1836-1878), 4th Viscount Southwell, Irish Lord Lieutenant of Leitrim
  • Thomas Southwell (1777-1860), 3rd Viscount Southwell, Irish peer
  • Thomas Southwell (1742-1796), 2nd Viscount Southwell, Irish MP for Limerick County 1767–1780
  • Thomas Southwell (1721-1780), 1st Viscount Southwell, Irish MP for Enniscorthy and Limerick County 1761–1766
  • Edward Southwell (1738-1777), 20th Baron de Clifford, British politician
  • Sir Richard Vynne Southwell MA, LLD, FRS (1888-1970), British mathematician who specialized in applied mechanics
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Hillcrest Coal Mine
  • Mr. Albert Southwell (1883-1914), English Timber Packer from Wadsworth, Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom who worked in the Hillcrest Coal Mine, Alberta, Canada and died in the mine collapse [12]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. James Southwell, British Stoker 2ne Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse (1941) and died in the sinking [13]

The Southwell Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Nec male notus eques
Motto Translation: A knight not badly known.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. 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)
  8. Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PRINCESS ROYAL 1848. Retrieved from
  10. South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BARQUE CAUCASIAN 1852. Retrieved
  11. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from
  12. List Of Miners - Hillcrest Mine Disaster Data. (Retrieved 2014, June 24) . Retrieved from
  13. HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook