Recorded in many spellings including Chappell, Chappel, Chapple, Capel, Capelle, and Capewell, (English), Chapell, Chapelle, Capell, (France), Capela, Cappella, (Italian), Capilla and Capella (Spanish and Portugese), Capel and Van de Keppel (Dutch), Van de Capelle (Flemish), Kapple, Kapplemann, Capel, and Cappleman (German), this is usually a topographical name for someone who lived by a chapel. It is derived from the Latin word "capella", meaning a hood or cloak, but later used in a transferred sense to mean a sanctuary. It may also be occupational for someone employed in a chapel, the derivation and origination being same. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names. Early examples of the surname recording include Richard de la Chapel in the Subsidy Tax rolls of the county of Sussex, England, in 1293, Johan Capelmann of Osnabruck, Germany, in 1473, and Johannes Capel of Heidelberg, Germany, in the year 1487. Other recordings in England include the christening of Abraham Chapple, on August 7th 1623 at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, whilst the coat of arms most associated with the family was granted on 20th October, 1686 to Richard Chapell, Deputy-Auditor-General and has the blazon of a gold shield, thereon a black anchor between two chaplets in fess vert. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Chapel, which was dated 1202, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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