This unusual and interesting surname, recorded in the spellings of Call, Cail, Caile, Cale, Kale, Calle, Cayle, Cawle, and possibly others, is pre 7th century Olde English and locational. It derives from the river Cale which rises in Somerset and Dorset . The meaning of the river name is uncertain, but it may be from "cal" meaning cold. It is sometimes recorded with the prefix "win-", from the Olde English and later Welsh word "gwyn", meaning white. These recordings as "Cawel" and "Wincawel" appear in the Saxon Charters for the year 956 a.d.and probably denoted different arms of the River Cale. The surname is well recorded in the county of Devon; although why this should be so is unclear. Early recordings taken from authentic church registers of the period include the marriages of Richard Cale and Anne Swyne on August 26th 1583, at Barnstaple, Devon, Abell Calle, the son of John Calle, christened at St Giles Cripplegate, London, on February 4th 1589, and Elizabeth Cale, christened at St James Garlickhythe, London, on January 22nd 1575. Later recordings include John Cale and Anne Fussell, married on October 2nd 1732, at Hinton Charterhouse, Somerset, and Christopher Cail, christened at St Mary's Battersea, London, on April 16th 1856. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of William Call, which was dated November 2nd 1539, at Barnstaple, Devon. This was during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547.
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