Transferred use of the surname, in origin a local name from any of various places so called, most of which get their name from Old English brōm ‘broom, gorse’ + dūn ‘hill’. In some cases it may be an altered form of Brendan. There has perhaps also been some influence from the surname of the Italian American actor Marlon Brando (1924–2004). In Britain the name has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity since the mid-1990s.
English: habitational name from any of various places called Whitwell, for example in Dorset, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, and North Yorkshire, named from Old English hwīt ‘white’ + well(a) ‘spring’, ‘stream’.