This is an English locational surname. It apparently derives from a now 'lost' medieval site probably in Lancashire or the Yorkshire Dales since the similar sounding villages of Arkendale or Arkengarthdale do still exist in the latter area. If so the meaning is probably much the same, from the pre 7th century Norse or Danish Viking 'Arnkettle', a personal name of great popularity which meant 'war cauldron' or similar, and dall or dale, a steep valley. As the Vikings controlled most of Northern England for several centuries before the coming of the Normans in 1066, it is not surprising that the place names in much of Lancashire and Yorkshire are predominently Scandanavian. Locational surnames are by their nature 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original village to move somewhere else. The further they moved, the greater the transposition of their surname spellings. In this case the surname is quite well recorded in the surviving registers of the city of London from at least the early 17th century, with Elizabeth Artenster (!) being recorded at St Giles Cripplegate on October 24th 1613, and later on July 2nd 1682, that of Willam Artingstall at St Martins in the Field, Westminster.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017