Witwell History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Witwell is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest brought to England in 1066. The Witwell family lived in any of various places called Whitwell, in Dorset, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and the North Riding of Yorkshire.These place names are derived from the Old English hwi-t, meaning "white," and well meaning a "spring," or "stream."

Early Origins of the Witwell family

The surname Witwell was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Early History of the Witwell family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Witwell research. Another 156 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1238, 1100, 1296, 1719, 1797, 1749 and 1788 are included under the topic Early Witwell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Witwell Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Witwall, Witwell, Whitwell, Whitwel, Whitewell and others.

Early Notables of the Witwell family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Griffin Whitwell (1719-1797), birth name of Field Marshal John Griffin Griffin, 4th Baron Howard de Walden, 1st Baron Braybrooke. He assumed the name Griffin through his mother Anne...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Witwell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Witwell migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Witwell or a variant listed above:

Witwell Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Witwell, who settled in Virginia in 1660
  • Barnsby Witwell, who arrived in Virginia in 1664 [1]


  1. ^ 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)


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