What Does The Surname Swindells Mean?


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Julii Brainard Profile
Julii Brainard answered
I can't be too sure.

The name Swindells appears suddenly in historical records, in about 1620.  It was common among a group of families, concentrated in Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire and north Derbyshire.  Even today, the surname Swindells is still most concentrated in this area of the UK.

Some say that the name comes from Swindale House in the village of Skelton, North Riding, Yorkshire.  It may have been taken by the people working on the land there. Others believe the name comes from the Swindale valley near Shap, in the Lake District.

Swindale does appear fairly frequently in northern England as a place name, believed to mean "Pig Valley".

So it may be that the surname Swindale (and related spellings, like Swindell, Swindells, Swindall, Swindle) all arose spontaneously in places where Swindale was already being used.  This would make it a "locative" name, where people got surnames after the place they were born.

However, there are arguments against this being the case for Swindells.  Dave Swindells provides a really detailed analysis of the possible origins of Swindells (and related surnames).  He comes to the conclusion that the evidence that Swindells comes from any place called Swindale is weak at best.  He  cannot offer up a firm alternative of how the name did arise, though.

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