Recorded as Swalwel, Swalwell, Swallwell, Swallwith, and no doubt others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the village of Swalwell in County Durham, the meaning being 'swallow stream' from the Olde English pre 7th century 'swale - waella', being first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. Locational surnames were usually 'from' names. That is to say names that were given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else generally in search of work. In so doing they took, or were given, as their surname the name of their former village. Spelling over the centuries being at best erratic, and local dialects very thick, often lead to the creation of 'sounds like' spellings. In this case the surname was an early arrival in the city of London from where most early church register recordings are to be found. These examples include Elizibeth Swalwell who married Nicholas Walker at the church of St Mary le Bow, on May 8th 1558, and Georg Swallwell who was christened at St Botolphs without Aldgate on January 1st 1637.
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