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Caldwell are a Scottish family or kin-group who do not have a chief recognised by the Lord Lyon and as a consequence are considered an armigerous clan.


A name which is derived from the Old English ‘cealdwielle’ which means ‘cold stream’. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 369</ref> As a consequence a definite territorial origin for this name is not possible. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 369</ref> However, while there are English families with this name, the lands of Caldwell are in Renfrewshire. <ref>David Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, 38</ref>

Middle Ages

Black records William de Caldwell as the holder of the lands of Caldwell in 1342. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 369</ref>


According to eighteenth century heraldic authority Alexader Nisbet the Caldwells of Caldwell had four bars wavy shown on their arms to represent water related to their name.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 369</ref>

Seventeenth Century

The last chief was John Calder of that Ilk, Commissioner for Renfrew around 1693. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 369</ref> The surname was common in Glasgow during the seventeenth century. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 369</ref>

A branch of the family emigrated to Co. Fermanagh and purchased a castle which they renamed Castle Caldwell. Sir James Caldwell fought for William of Orange in Donegal in 1690.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 369</ref>

Caldwells also emigrated to North America. It became a placename in New Jersey. In the twentieth century, Erskine Caldwell became a prominent novelist.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 369</ref>

References <references/>