This name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from any of the three places called Cresswell in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Northumberland. The placename was spelt as "Cresswella" in the Domesday Book of 1086 and in all cases, derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "caers(e)" meaning "cress", plus "wella", a spring or stream; hence, "a stream where watercress grew". The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below). In 1591, one John Cresswell of Yorkshire appears in the Oxford University Register, and on December 20th 1679, John Cresswell was listed as a landowner in St. James Parish, Barbados. An interesting namebearer was Sir Cresswell (1794 - 1863), King's Counsel (1834), M.P. for Liverpool (1837), organiser of the probate and divorce court 1858 - 1863. A Coat of Arms granted to the Cresswell family consists of a shield divided in quarter; on the first and fourth quarter are three red circles charged with a silver squirrel sejant on an erminois field, the second and third depict a goat statant armed and crined gold between three gold saltires on a red field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Cressewell which was dated 1272, in the "Pipe Rolls of Staffordshire", 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.