This interesting and unusual name is generally considered to be of medieval English origin, and a metonymic occupational name for a maker of ropes, especially those used for maritime purposes. If this is so then the derivation is from the Anglo-Norman-French word of the same spelling, itself a derivative of the Latin 'capulum', meaning a halter, and was presumably an introduction by the followers of William, The Conqueror, after the 1066 invasion of England. The modern spelling variations of the surname include such forms as Cabel, Cable, Cabell and Cabble. The name was originally prominent in Devonshire and Norfolk, in its different spellings, both being counties with strong seafaring associations. However the eminent Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley considered the surname to be a form of Cubold, an Anglo-Saxon given name from the pre 7th century. Our opinion is that we incline to the Norman-French occupation theory of a maker of ropes. Early examples of recordings taken from rolls and charters include Richard Cabel of Oxford in the Hundred rolls of 1273, Henry Cabell of Somerset also in 1273, and Thomas Cabel, rector of Irstead in Norfolk, in the year 1506. Early marriage recordings include Thomas Cable and Emma Woddecokk, married in London by civil license in 1554, and Kezia Cable and Samuel Kent at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1788. The coat of arms granted in Norfolk in 1620, has the blazon of a green field charged with a silver fretty, overall a red fesse. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Cabel, which was dated 1272, in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, England, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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