Recorded in over thirty spelling forms including Castellan and Castelain (English), Castelan, Castellani (Italian), Castellano (Spanish), Chatelain, de Chatelain, Chatelan, Chastelain, de Chastelain, and Chastelan (French), this is a surname of ultimately Roman origins. However spelt it is either a status name for the local lord of the manor, or it may have been occupational for the governor or constable of a castle, or in some cases it may have been a nickname for a person who behaved like a lord, or even perhaps an actor who played the part of a lord, to the point where he was known by the part. The derivation is from the pre Christian word 'castellanus' itself a derivative of 'castellum', meaning a castle. That this was often a surname of status is partially proven by the grant of arms, as shown below. Early examples of the surname recording include Gerardde Chastelain at Conde-sur-L'escaut, France, on February 17th 1587, and Ribera Castellano at Asuncion, Mexico, on August 24th 1669. The coat of arms has the blazon of a quarterly, one and three, sable, a castle argent, two and four, gules, a shield sable charged with a cross, Or, a chief chequred argent and azure. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is shown to be that of Osbert Castelyn. This was dated 1240 a.d., in the ancient rolls of England called 'Archaeologia Cantiana', during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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