GENEALOGY OF THE STILLWELL FAMILY
THE STILLWELLS IN ENGLAND
Eleven centuries ago, an industrious and conscientious historian,
desiring to give a record of the establishment of his forefathers in this island,
could find no fuller or better account than this:
"About the year of Grace 445-6, the British inhabitants of England,
deserted by their Roman masters,
who had enervated while they protected them,
and exposed to the ravages of Picts and Scots from the extreme
and barbarous portions of the island,
called in the assistance of heathen Saxons from the continent of Europe.
The strangers faithfully performed their task,
and chastised the Northern invaders; then,
in scorn of the weakness of their employers, subjected them in turn to the yoke,
and after various vicissitudes of fortune,
established their own power upon the ruins of Roman and British civilization."
The Saxons in England by John Mitchell Kembel.
London: Bernard Quaritch, 15 Piccadilly. 1876. Vol. 1, pp. 1-2.
This is the final agreement made in the court of the lord the King at Westminister from the day of St. Michael within one month in the eighteenth year of the reign of King Edward the son of King Edward before William de Bereford, John de Mulford, William de Herle, John de Stonore and John de Bousser justices and other faithful subjects of the lord the King then there present Between William Stilewell plaintiff and Richard Merk of Farnham and Alice his wife, deforciants of one messuage with appurtenances in Farnham whereof a plea of covenant was summoned between them in the same court, to wit that the aforesaid Richard and Alice acknowledge the aforesaid messuage with appurtenances to be the right of the same William and that they rendered to him in the same court To have and to hold to the same William and his heirs of the chief lords of that fee by the services which to the aforesaid messuage pertain forever. And moreover the same Richard granted for himself and his heirs that they will warrant to the aforesaid William and his heirs the aforesaid messuage pertain forever. And moreover the same Richard granted for himself and his heirs that they will warrant to the aforesaid William and his heirs the aforesaid messuage with appurtenances against all men forever. And for this acknowledgment surrender warranty, fine and agreement the same William gave to the aforesaid Richard and Alice 100 s. (shillings) of silver3Following this date closely appears:
In the assessment for 1332 (in the Surrey Taxation Returns at the Records Office, London), there were taxed for property, at "Wytle," i.e., Witley, near Woking:
Richard Styelwelle viii s. (shillings) iii d. (pence.)Taking into account the relative value of money, this sum paid by William Stilewel would be equivalent in these days to about $1,000, or more, and the taxes of the other three individuals, figured proprotionately, indicate they were all people of substance, ranking as well-to-do citizens and feudal tenants, desirable positions in the then existing English oligarchy.
During the six hundred years of its known existence, the name has been variously spelled according to the ignorance, indifference or training of those who have borne it.
In one deed alone, owned by the late Mr. John Pakenham Stilwell, dated 14th of Sept., 1621, by which John Stilwell, the elder, yeoman, makes over to his son John Stilwell, the younger, who was about to be married to Joane, daughter of Thomas Constable, of Ockley, the land, messuage, etc., called Collet, now Collet Moor, in the parish of Dorking, the name is spelled Stillwell, Styllwell and is signed John Stilwell; and in our early Dutch and English records equally great is the latitude taken when it is spelled Stellwel, Stilewell, Stillewel, Stillewell, Stillwal, Stillwel, Stillwell, Stillwel, Stilwell, Stilwil, Styllwell, Stylwell, etc.
No doubt there are other existing English records, which, if known, would connect those that appear in 1324 and 1332 with those that now follow, but it has not been my good fortune to locate them.
1. Farnham lies in Hampshire just over the Surrey line, about six miles northwest of Thursley, in Surrey.
2. Stilwell (English). Dweller at the Constant Spring (one not intermittent). (Old Eng.: Stille, constant, etc. W(i)ella, a Spring. Harrison, Surnames of the United Kingdom.
3. Translation of an extract from Pedes Finium, County of Surrey. The original parchment, now in the Records Office, London, is written in "Law French" and is dated 18 of Edward II, i.e. 1324. It represents the records of fines, for the County of Surrey, from III of Richard I, to the reign of Henry VII.