This interesting surname of English origin is a dialectal variant of the locational name Kentwell in Suffolk. It is not far from the Glem and may be an old name for this river. If so, the original name was Kennet deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "cynete" plus "wella", "stream". This surname dates back to the late 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Thomas Cantewell (1446), "The Close Rolls". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Candwell, etc.. The church records at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, include Cicily, daughter of Thomas Cantwell who was christened on March 13th 1568, and John, son of Arnold Cantwell who was christened on November 18th 1568. Helen, daughter of John and Jane Cantwell, was christened at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, on May 14th 1689. One Ellen Cantwell, aged 18, a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Henry-Clay" bound for New York on April 15th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Kentewelle, which was dated 1273, "The Hundred Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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