Tanswell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Tanswell family

The surname Tanswell was first found in Bedfordshire (Old English: Bedanfordscir), located in Southeast-central England, formerly part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, Willmund de Taissel was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in Bedfordshire. [2]

Early History of the Tanswell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tanswell research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1548, 1585 and 1548 are included under the topic Early Tanswell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tanswell Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Tassell, Tassel, Taisel, Taisell, Tasell, Tassle and others.

Early Notables of the Tanswell family (pre 1700)

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


United States Tanswell migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Tanswell or a variant listed above:

Tanswell Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William N Tanswell, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1830 [3]

Australia Tanswell migration to Australia +

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

Tanswell Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Stephen Tanswell, English convict from Dorset, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on November 13, 1832, settling in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. John Tanswell, (b. 1804), aged 29, English butcher who was convicted in Leicester, Leicestershire, England for life for burglary, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 3rd November 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • James Tanswell, aged 32, a miner, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Monsoon"

Contemporary Notables of the name Tanswell (post 1700) +

  • John Tanswell (1800-1864), English archæologist, sixth and last surviving son of Stephen Cock; who married Ann Tanswell or Taswell; he assumed his mother's name


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 27) Andromeda voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1832 with 186 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/andromeda/1832
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora


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