The surname Rockwell was originally Rocheville, and the family's origins are in St. Julien, Normandy, France, near the city of Caen. Sir Ralph de Rocheville was the first of the family to come to England, when he accompanied Empress Matlda in 1139 as she sought to claim the English throne. Although Matilda (also known as Maude) did not succeed, and instead returned to Normandy, her son ruled England (1154-1189) as Henry II (1133-1189). It was from Henry II that Sir Ralph de Rocheville received a grant of three knights' fees (or fiefs; the fee was the base unit of land valuation under the feudal system) in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire. At least as late as the early twentieth century, the Rockwells lived in Boroughbridge at Rockwell Hall.
As if that weren't enough, the Rockwells intermarried with the Dickinsons in the American colonies. While "Dickinson" looks and sounds like simply another "-son" name (a variant of Dickson or Richardson), it is said to actually come from Walter de Caen (de Kenson). Ergo, both the Rocheville/Rockwell and de Caen/Dickinson families date back to the area of Caen, Normandy, during and shortly after the 1066 invasion of William the Conqueror. It is likely that the families were connected through marriage and other ties for at least 600 years, from Normandy to England, before settling in New England.