Arguably the most famous of all English surnames, and also one of the most noble.Nameholders have at various times held the titles of Lord Cromwell, baron of Tatshall in Lincolnshire, as well as the earldom of Essex and the earldom of Ardglass. The surname is locational and originates from a small village in the county of Nottinghamshire, where the original lord of the manor, one Ralph de Cromwella was first recorded in the pipe rolls of the county in the year 1177. The place name and hence the surname translates as "the winding stream" from the pre 7th century Olde English crumb-waella. Locational surnames are either those of the local landowner and his or sometimes her, descendants, or names given to people as easy identification after they left their original village to settle somewhere else. That the name travelled far and wide would appear to be shown by the recording of John de Crombewelle of the county of Devon in the year 1310. The family of the famous Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England (1600 - 1658), are however of Welsh origin, and descend from Sir Richard Williams who held extensive estates in Wales. He had a connection by marriage with the Cromwells, Lords of Hinchinbrooke, Huntingdonshire. For reason unexplained, at the "request" of King Henry V111th he changed his name to Cromwell. He was the great-great grandfather of Oliver Cromwell. The Cromwells from this branch however died out in 1821. There have been no less than thirteen coats of arms granted to members of the Cromwell name.
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