Surname Early History

A search of various catalogues has been utilised for both the place name and the surname to explore the parallel links between the two.

There are two important caveats to be made before drawing any conclusions i.e.:

  • many of the entries found were from the same catalogue and the entries in that catalogue may have been made by the same person and may have been normalised by the for the benefits of indexing. Therefore, the individual variation in how the name is written in the documents may have been reduced.
  • The data is based on a small number of events amongst a small number of individuals, so it may not reflect a true picture of the name variation within that population of name bearers at any given time.

The earliest references from these sources suggest that an early form of the name was Swalewelles and that there was at least initially a strong and abiding connection between those bearing the name and land in Swalwell itself.

This exercise does appear to confirm and support the assertion made by the surname academics that the surname Swalwell stems from an association with the modern-day place of Swalwell in Durham.

1183NONEBOLDON BOOK: "The land of Swalwell [original spelling Sualwels] renders 16 s William, son of Arnold, for clearing of 120 acres renders one marc"
1243de SWALEWELLEDURHAM EYRE ROLL 27 Henry III: "Christiana mater Martinid de Swalewelle"
1264 or 1278of SWALWELLDurham Cathedral Muniments Register I Inquisition: "William of Swalwell" one of many describing historic grazing rights near Gateshead
1296of Lay Subsidy Roll: BENWELL: Robert of Swalwell; NEWCASTLE: Robert of Swalwell
SWALEWELLES1307/1308lord of SWALEWELLESPortland of Welbeck [4th Deposit] Deeds & Estate Papers. Indenture, demise: "Juliana, widow of John, lord of Swalewelles .... a meadow calledLLangedmedue in Swalewelles"
SWALLWELL1309Portland of Welbeck [4th Deposit] Deeds and Estate Papers. Swalwell and Whickham
1311of SWALWELLDurham University Special Collections Catalogue: "Elvet. William del Gyle sought satisfaction for a debt of £10 which Thomas of Swalwell ..."
1314de SWALWELLPortland Welbeck [4th Deposit] Deeds & Estate Papers: Deed poll, receipt & quitclaim. "Thos de Swalwell son and heir of John de Swalwell"
SWALEWELL1321de SWALEWELLPortland of Welbeck [4th Deposit] Deeds & Estate Papers, Deed poll, quitclaim: Thos de Swalewell, lord of Swalewell
SWALWELLES1326de SWALWELLESPortland Welbeck [4th Deposit] Deeds & Estate Papers. Deed poll, quitclaim: "Thomas son of late John de Swalwelles ..all right in le Langmedow in Swalwelles"
SWALOUWELL1335Portland of Welbeck [4th Deposit]. Indenture, grant. "meadow called le Lang Medou in Swalouwell"
SWALEWELLES1340-1341Portland of Welbeck [4th Deposit] Deed poll, Grant. "both meadows described as in Swalewelles"
SWALEWELS1341Portland of Welbeck [4th Deposit] Letters patent of Richard, Bishop of Durham: "meadow in Quicham and Swalewels
SWALWELL1382Bishop Hatfield's Survey: "The tenants jointly hold the mill of Swalwell, the fishery there, and the toll of ale.."
SWALWELS1390SWALWELSDEPUTY KEEPERS RECORDS. Parliamentary Papers House of Commons & Command vol 33: "Custancia widow of William de Swalwels grant of the custody of lands etc late of William de Swalwels in Swalwels"
SWALEWELLS1392SWALEWELLSDEPUTY KEEPERS RECORDS. Parliamentary Papers House of Commons & Command vol 33: "Custancia, widow of William de Swalewells: recognizance for the production of William son and heir of William de Swalewells to teh Bishop"
1395SWALLWELLDEPUTY KEEPERS RECORDS. Parliamentary Papers House of Commons & Command vol 33: Swallwell John; recognizance
1403-1404SWALWELLSThe Swalwell Story: William Brown. History of Swalwell. 1893: William de Swalwells burgess of Newcastle, released by charter all his lands and tenements to William Redmershall of Newcastle
1405SWALWELLDurham University Library. Archives & Special Collections Durham Cathedral Muniments MIscellaneous Charters 1093--19th Century: Bond from John son of John Dawson to John de Elnet and John Swalwell clerks
SWALWELL1411SWALWELLThe Swalwell Story: William Brown. History of Swalwell. 1893: MAcKenzie Eneas. An historical, topographical and descriptive view of the County Palatine of Durham. William son and heir of William de Swalwells quitclaimed as his father's lands in Swalwell and Whickham, to John Fenwyke, chaplain a trustee of Roger Thornton"