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About the study

This is a world-wide study of the surname 'CAWDELL'

Research into the family tree began with work carried out by Thomas James Cawdell (Luton, Bedfordshire 1853-1925). He searched records in Somerset House and then the Parish Registers in Baldock (Hertfordshire), Spitalfields and Whitechapel (London) as well as family bibles for further information. His work was invaluable and formed the very foundation on which the Cawdell famiy tree and its relevant history is based.

A copy of his research was later obtained by Peter Norman Cawdell, great grandson of Thomas James Cawdell and he updated the research until 1970.

In 1989, the research baton was handed to Lt. Cdr. Ronald William James Cawdell who, with assistance from Michael John Cawdell, produced 'The Cawdell Family' book, published in 2005.

After my retirement in 2013, I took over the task of maintaning and updating this valuable record of the Cawdell family - a family name which I am proud to bear.

Variant names

Caldwell, Cadwell, Cordell, Caudle

Name origin

There are two theories about the origin of this relatively rare name.

Firstly, that the name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational name from any one of the places called Caldwell in North Yorkshire and Warwickshire or Cauldwell in Bedfordshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The place in Yorkshire is recorded as "Caldeuuella" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and shares with all the other places mentioned the same meaning and derivation, which is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cald", "ceald", cold, with "well", "wella" a spring, stream or well; hence "cold stream". The surname is also found in Scotland, where it appears in the late 12th Century.

The second theory is that it derives from the occupation of 'Caudle-maker' ie a man who makes 'caudles'.  A caudle (or caudel) is a British thickened and sweetened alcoholic hot drink often given to women in childbirth. It was popular in the Middle Ages for its supposed medicinal properties.

History of the name

William Cawdell (c1560) - Silversmith, maker of the 'Tichborne Celebrities' a set of twelve silver-gilt teaspoons

James Cawdell (1748-1800) - Dramatist, Theatre Manager and Poet

James Cawdell (1868-1941) - Cawdell's of Watford, department store

Bernard Cawdell (1875-  ) - Cawdell's of Thrapston, draper, milliner, dressmaker and undertaker

Frederick Linton Cawdell (1913-1965) - Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Name frequency

My branch of the tree appears to have originated in Baldock, Hertfordshire but there are also main branches of the family in Derby and Luton.

In 1881 there were 92 instances of the name CAWDELL, rising to 138 in 1998.

It is the 624,767th most common surname in the world

Through emigration, the Cawdell name is now found in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India.