Stilwell Origins

All true Stilwell/Stillwells are related. The name is a single-source one and originates from near Godalming in Surrey, England. The original spelling was Stylewell, and means “pure spring” and is named after two springs in the area of Bowlhead Green in Thursley, near Godalming. These springs are called “High Stilwells” and “Nether Stilwell”. The first record of the name “Stilwell” is in 1235 in the Godalming Court records where a “Ricardus de Stiyelewell” is recorded. Later records that exist for the name until the early 1500’s are all in the same area. In 1515, baptisms of Stilwells are recorded in nearby Dorking, and this branch of the family grew in the area and ultimately became successful. Almost all the records up until 1600 are for families in Surrey. There are a few families just across the county border in Hampshire and Sussex and two families in Holborn, London (who originally came from Dorking). By the mid 1700’s a few more Stilwell families had moved to London (mainly to Stepney/Whitechapel) and others inevitably followed in search of work and wealth.