Swallow Resource Centre
Swallow Family History - Hertfordshire, East London and Beyond
Origins of the Swallow Surname

The spelling Swallow is first recorded in 1624. One, Samuell Swallow married a Francis Denyson in St. James' Church, Clerkenwell, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Helevisa Swalve, which was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdon, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as the Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

The Swallow surname name probably has two possible origins. One generated from a nickname and the other based on the area of origin.

The name may have been a nickname from the Medieval English "swalewe", itself deriving from the Olde English "swealwe" meaning a swallow. The nickname was probably originally given to one having the Swallow's characteristics ie, swiftness and grace (and as outlined below also generated a French surname). Alternate spellings of the name have included de Swallwe (Lincolnshire) and Swalowe and Swalough (1379).

The other origin may have been locational from a place in Lincolnshire, so called from the river Swallow on which it stands. As the map show Swallow is located just off the A46 near Grimsby.

 The Coat of Arms granted to the family has the blazon of a gold shield thereon a black fesse between three black swallows volant. The Crest being; a mast and rigging of a ship issuing out of a whale's mouth.

The surname Arundal may also have its roots set deep in the French word for Swallow. Arundel may be of Norman-French origin, introduced by the Normans in the wake of the Conquest of 1066, and a nickname for someone thought to resemble a swallow, from the Old French "(h)arondel", a diminutive of "arond", swallow. The surname from this source has the distinction of being first recorded in the Domesday Book (see below), and further early examples include: Robert Arundel (Dorset, 1130), and Osbert Arundel, Harundel (Yorkshire, 1154). The Domesday tenant-in-chief has left his name in Sampford Arundel (Somerset) which he held in 1086. The name has long associations with the south-western English counties of Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset, and with Yorkshire in the north, has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation.