Show ContentsWassell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Wassell family

The surname Wassell was first found in Wasdale, or Nether Wasdale, a chapelry, in the parish of St. Bees, union of Whitehaven in Cumberland. Wasdale-Head is a chapelry, nit far from Wasdale. [1]

The earliest spelling of the place name was Wastedale in 1279 in the Hundredorum Rolls. By 1334, the place name was known as Wascedaleheved and literally meant "valley of the water or lake". [2]

As far as the surname is concerned, it could also have been a Norman name as the Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae of 1180 listed Roger and Hugh Wastel living in Normandy at that time. [3]

However, another source notes that the name could also have derived from a type of "fine bread" or "wassail-bowl" as Chaucer notes as "Prioress fed her hounds with Wastel brede." [4]

Exploring the origins of the name in ancient Britain led to the year 1182 when Ralph Wastel held lands in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. Soon thereafter the family branched north to Westmorland where they acquired Wastell-head. Ralph and Richard Wastel were listed the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [5]

The Wacelin variant has a slightly different origin. "Gacelin, or Wazelin, probably a noble of Anjou, held lands from Geoffrey de Wirce in Lincoln 1086. John Wascelin was of Lincoln 1189, and Reginald held of Crevecoeur [6]. Geofifry Gascelyn was summoned to parliament by writ, 1259. " [3]

"This must have been the Geoffrey Watelin or Wacelin entered in the Hundred Rolls, c. 1272, as seated in Norfolk, who was a benefactor of Jerveaulx Abbey. The family continued in Lincolnshire for a considerable time. Richard de Wacelyn or Walkelin, 28 Hen. III, held in Foteburne, in that county, by the serjeanty of finding (with two others) one balistar, with six quarrels and a sumpter horse, in the King's army, for forty days." [7]

Early History of the Wassell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wassell research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1406, 1410, 1455, 1460, 1487, 1515, 1592, 1599, 1602, 1623 and 1632 are included under the topic Early Wassell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wassell Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Wastell, Wastall, Wassell, Washtell, Wassall, Gastell, Westell, Wastoile, Westoile, Waistell, Wassell, Wessel, Wessell and many more.

Early Notables of the Wassell family

Distinguished members of the family include Robert Wastell (fl. 1406-1410) from Totnes, Devon, an English politician, Member of the Parliament for Totnes in 1406 and 1410; and John Wastell (1460-1515), English Gothic architect responsible for Manchester Cathedral, parts of King's College Chapel, Cambridge, the crossing tower (Bell Harry Tower) of Canterbury Cathedral, and the fan vaulted section of Peterborough Cathedral. Simon Wastell (died 1632), was a...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wassell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Wassell migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Wassell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jo Wassell, aged 10, who landed in New England in 1635 aboard the ship "Blessing" [8]
  • Henry Wassell, who arrived in Virginia in 1656 [8]

New Zealand Wassell 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:

Wassell Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Edward Wassell, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alma" in 1857
  • Francis Wassell, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alma" in 1857
  • David Wassell a bricklayer, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "City of Dunedin" in 1871 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Wassell (post 1700) +

  • Corydon McAlmont Wassell MD (1884-1958), American Navy physician awarded the Navy Cross during WWII [10]
  • William C. Wassell, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Pennsylvania State Senate 29th District, 1952 [11]
  • Sam M. Wassell, American Democratic Party politician, Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, 1947-51 [11]
  • John Wassell, American politician, Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, 1868 [11]
  • Kim Wassell (b. 1957), former English footballer who played from 1976 to 1995
  • Dr Richard Wassell FRCO (1880-1949), English composer and organist based in Birmingham, Organist of St Martin in the Bull Ring (1920-1942)
  • Harold Wassell (1879-1951), English professional footballer who played from 1902 to 1906
  • Alan Robert Wassell (b. 1940), former English cricketer who played from 1959 to 1966

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. 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)
  4. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. Testa de Nevill or "Liber Feodorum" or "Book of Fees," thought to have been written by Ralph de Nevill, for King John (1199–1216)
  7. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 3 of 3
  8. 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)
  9. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 9th November 2011). Retrieved from
  10. Corydon Wassell. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Corydon Wassell. Retrieved from
  11. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 8) . Retrieved from on Facebook