- This is an interesting English surname. Recorded in two spellings Doswell and Duswell, it is locational from a now 'lost' medieval village, of which the only reminder in the 20th century is the surname itself. Lost villages are a feature of British surnames, and it is estimated that as many as five thousand names originate from these sources. Villages became lost for a variety of reasons. In some cases they just faded away, in some cases they were literally washed away, the fate of many coastal villages particularly on the east coast, war has claimed a few, but most have been lost because of changes in agrcultural practices, particularly sheep farming. This required many less workers, and in consequence tenants had no choice, but to take to the road in search of jobs. In so doing they took, or were given as easy identification as their surname, the name of their former village. Spelling being at best erratic often lead to the development of variant forms. In this case it is believed that Doswell derives from the pre 7th century Olde English derc-waella, or the spring where the deer drank, but this is not proven. The surname is well recorded in the surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London. Recordings include: Richard Doswell, whose daughter Elizabeth was christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on November 5th 1671, and on June 1st 1680, the marriage of Abraham Duswell, also recorded as Doswell, to Elizabeth Hicks, at the little church of St Katherines by the Tower (of London).
Surnames reference. 2013.