Recorded in many spelling forms including Caygil, Caygill, Caygell, Caygile, Caggill, Kaygil, Kaygill, and Keagil, this surname is nethertheless, quite rare. It is English and locational, and almost certainly originates from a now 'lost' medieval village in the county of North Yorkshire, and probably lying between the existing villages of Wensley and Askrigg, in Upper Wensleydale. All the early recordings are from this area, firstly in Wensley when Francis Kaygill married Miriam Hammon on July 6th 1600, and then from about the middle of the 17th century when the epi-centre of the name seems to have moved to Askrigg.Until the begining of the 19th century the name in Yorkshire, is hardly ever encountered outside of Wensleydale. One of the early examples of a 'breakaway' is that of Richard Caygill of Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, on December 13th 1824, when he is recorded as a christening witness. A few recordings of Caygill's still appear in the local directory for that area, and also in the Colne Valley region of West Yorkshire. The name probably means 'cold valley' or possibly 'chalk valley', certainly 'gil' describes a steep valley of which there are many in the area. Some five thousand British surnames derive from 'lost' medieval sites, and there seems little reason to doubt that this surname, in all its myriad spellings, is one of them.
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