Recorded in over fifty different spellings, this is a surname of Roman origins. It derives from the Latin word "castrum", meaning a camp, through the 9th century French or Spanish castel, to the later castillo, catel, catelet, chatel and chateau. As such it is topographical and describes a person who lived in a castle or chateau, or for instance as Catelet, a little castle or chateau. It is recorded in every European country, but has particularly aristocratic associations with Spain, Portugal and France, where nameholders held claims to be known as the Kings of Lyon.The basic spellings frms include Chateau, Chatel, Cattel, Cathel, Catel, Catelet, (France), Castro and Castillo (Spain and Portugal), Castle, Kestell, and Cassell (England), Castello (Italy), and many others. To these have to be added the wide variety of patronymic and diminutive forms, which include Castelot, Castelin, Catelette, Catlette, Catlin, Cattelin, and Cathelin or Cattellion. These later names are over-lap spellings, which may derive from the original "chatel" or may equally be forms of the female given name "Cateline", first recorded in the 12th century. This originates from the Greek "katharos" meaning pure and clean, and was a name introduced by the Crusaders, on their return from the Holy Land.The first recorded spelling of the surname is possibly that of Richard Castel of Sussex, England, in the year 1148, whilst Andreas Medina de Castro, appears in the church registers of Nuestra Senora de la Antigua, Valladolid, Spain, in 1566. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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