The Rothwell Surname

ROTHWELL Surname Study

The Rothwell name has fascinated me for a long time. It is one of my family names and the surname appears in the registers of St Peter’s Church (Bolton) and St Mary’s Church (Deane) from the beginning of the registers.

It is often described as a place name meaning ‘spring or stream in a clearing’. There are towns in England called Rothwell – in West Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire but as far as I know there isn’t one near to Bolton but yet the surname is especially strong all around that area. I live near to Rothwell in Northamptonshire and there are very few Rothwells around here (it is pronounced Rowell in this area) so why is it so strong in Lancashire and not Northamptonshire or elsewhere? I have often wondered if the Bolton Rothwells came over with the Flemish weavers which settled in Bolton during the reign of Edward III.

Some notable Rothwells include the artist Selim Rothwell, the Marquis de Rothwell, Peter Rothwell and Richard Rothwell the Puritan exorcist. If you have ancestors from the Bolton area it is probable you will be somehow related to a Rothwell somewhere as they married in to many Bolton families. I will be looking into the Bolton Rothwells and posting more information soon.