This ancient Scottish name has its origins in a Gaelic nickname "Caimbeul", meaning "wry (or crooked) mouth", from "dam", bent or crooked and "beul", mouth. That it was originally a nickname can be seen by a charter of 1447 which records "Duncan le Cambeli", the first Lord Campbell, the "le" being the Scottish "lie" meaning "so called", or "known as". Clan tradition has it, that the Campbells were originally known as "Clana Duibhne" or "O'Duine", from one Diarmid O'Duine of Lochow. About 1390, Duncan Campbell witnessed a charter by Duncan, Earl of Levenax, and is believed to be the first namebearer to introduce a "p" into the name, influenced by the erroneous theory that "Cam(p)bell" comes from the Norman-French "de Campobello" i.e., "of the beautiful plain". Campbell is the family name of the hereditary Dukes of Argyll, dating from 1445. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gillespic Cambel, which was dated 1263, in the "Exchequer Rolls of Scotland", during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. 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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