This most interesting and unusual surname, of Old Scandinavian origin, is an English locational name from Catterall, near Garstang in Lancashire, which appeared ad "Catrehala" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and "Caterhale" in the Book of Fees of 1212. The placename itself is composed of the Old Scandinavian elements "kattar, kottr", a cat, and "hali", tail; hence "A cat's tail", here referring to a long, thin piece of land. Locational surnames were originally given to the Lord of the Manor or as a means of identification to those who left their place of birth to seek work elsewhere.Katterall in Norway actually has the same etymology as Catterall in Lancashire. The surname is popular and widespread in Lancashire, and is first recorded in the early 13th Century (see below). Early examples of the surname include one John de Caterhale, mentioned in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire in 1332, while in 1350 "Gilbert de la Legh and the heir of John de Caterale (held) in demesne and service the vill of Hapton", according to the Knight's Fees Records of Edward 111. Richard Caterall is mentioned in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York in 1400, while Ellen Catterall of Croston, Lancashire is recorded in the Chester Wills (1545 - 1620). A Coat of Arms depicting three gold mascles on a blue shield, was granted to a Catterall family at Crooke in Lancashire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Caterell, which was dated 1222, in the "Curia Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.
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