The ancestors of the bearers of the Urwell family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England
. They were first found in the settlement of Orwell in Cambridgeshire
, in Orwell Haven in Suffolk
, or in the lands of Orwell in the Scottish county of Kinross. The surname Urwell belongs to the large category of Anglo-Saxon habitation
names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.
Early Origins of the Urwell family
The surname Urwell was first found in Cambridgeshire
at Orwell which dates back to the Domesday Book
where it was listed as Ordeuuelle. The place name literally means "spring by a pointed hill," from the Old English words ord + wella. The River Orwell in Suffolk
dates back to the 11th century when it was listed as Arewan and later as Orewell in 1341. This ancient Celtic river-name means simply "stream" having derived from the Old English word "wella." CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
Today Orwell, Cambridgeshire
has a population of about 1,080 people and the Roman road still runs to Cambridge runs alongside the village. St Andrew's Church dates back to about 1150 A.D.
Early History of the Urwell family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Urwell research.Another 199 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1140, 1231 and 1362 are included under the topic Early Urwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Urwell Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon
surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations
. Changes in Anglo-Saxon
names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Urwell include Orwell, Orwill, Orvell and others.
Early Notables of the Urwell family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Urwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Urwell family to the New World and Oceana
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Urwell or a variant listed above: Catherine Orwell and her husband were banished to Jamaica in 1685.