This interesting surname, one of the very earliest if not actually the earliest, is recorded in many forms as shown below. It is of pre 7th century Old Norse-Vking origins, and derives from the male personal name "Ketill". This was found on its own or as an element within compound names such as Asketill and Arnkell. These names were composed of apparently disparate elements, Ashketill means "sacrificial cauldron"; whilst Arnkell means "eagle- cauldron", from "arn", an eagle. Both are found in the modified surnames of today as Ashkettle, Haskell, Arkle and Arkley.The personal name Ketill is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of England in 1086 as Chetel, Chitel, Ketel and Kitel. The modern surname can be found as Ketchell, Kettle, Kettel, Kettell, KItchell, Kittel, Kittle and the patronymic forms Kettles, Kettless, Kells and Kettelson. Edmund Kettle is listed in the student register of the University of Oxford for 1582 - 1583. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Grym Kytel. This was dated 972 a.d., in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, during the reign of King Edgar of England, 959 - 975 a.d. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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