Recorded in the spellings of Sedwell, Sidwell, Sydwell, and Sitwell, this is an English locational surname. It originates from either a "lost" medieval village originally called "Sid-waella" or possibly "Sid-halh", and meaning " the spring by the Sid (river)" or " the house by the Sid". These translations would suggest that the village if it existed did so in the Devon region of the West Country. It is however equally possible that the name is perhaps as a transposed form of a place name such as Sidlow in Surrey or Siddall in Lancashire.Some five thousand British and Irish surnames originate from now "lost" villages, of which the only reminder in the late 20th century is usually the surname, often in some unusual variations. This surname is well recorded in London, suggesting that it was a victim of the infamous "clearances" of the 16th and 17th centuries, when tenants were deliberately turned off their lands to facilitate sheep farming. These people then often headed for London, as they were unwelcome elsewhere. The early church recordings include Elizabeth Sidwell who married David Napp, seemingly by civil license in London, on January 6th 1680, and George Sitwell, who married Elizabeth Hawtrey at Ruislip, Middlesex, on December 14th 1688. The first known recording is believed to be Elizabeth Sydwell, christened at St Giles church, Cripplegate, London, on September 6th 1573. This was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, 1558 - 1603.
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