This very interesting name is early medieval and job descriptive, and refers to a bellman, one who rang the 'Chanterelles' - the trebles, or who sang the treble in a choir. The derivation is from the Olde French, the word being introduced by the Normans after 1066. There are at least five modern alternative spellings including Chantrell, Chantrill, Cantrell, Cantrill and Cantwell, sometimes the name is a diminutive meaning 'Son of Cant or Chant'. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip Canterel which was dated 1203, in the "Staffordshire Assize Court" during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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